Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Darlene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,200

    Central America Up in Arms over CAFTA

    http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/041305LA.shtml

    Looks like we are not the only one's opposed to CAFTA


    Central America Up in Arms over CAFTA
    By David Bacon
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Tuesday 12 April 2005

    Puerto Cortez, Honduras - When the Honduran Congress took up ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement March 3, over a thousand demonstrators filled the streets of Tegucigalpa, angrily denouncing the effort. Congress ratified CAFTA anyway, but the crowd was so angry that terrified deputies quickly fled.

    "We chased them out, and then we went into the chambers ourselves," says Erasmo Flores, president of the Sindicato Nacional de Motoristas de Epuipo Pesado de Honduras (SINAMEQUIPH), the union for Honduras's port truckers. "Then we constituted ourselves as the congress of the true representatives of the Honduran people, and voted to scrap Congress's ratification."

    Similar demonstrations have multiplied across Central America, and just weeks ago police shot into a crowd of protestors in Guatemala, killing one. Meanwhile, however, growing controversy has not helped the treaty's main supporter, US President George Bush, to find the votes he needs to pass it in Washington.

    While admittedly an act of political theater by the leftwing Bloque Popular, the Honduran protest showed dramatically how unpopular the agreement is in Central America, at least among workers and farmers. This is quite a change from Mexico, where the promises of then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari deceived large sections of Mexican society, especially its labor unions, into supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1991 and 92. While US workers might suffer job loss, Salinas cajoled, Mexican workers would get those jobs. The country would be come a "first world" economy, he promised, with first world living standards.

    The truth was bitter. After NAFTA went into effect, currency devaluation cost the jobs of a million Mexicans in the first year alone. While US President Bill Clinton bailed out investors threatened by the crash, it came at the cost of Mexico's oil, which then had to guarantee the loans, instead promoting economic development. Tying hundreds of thousands of low-wage maquiladora jobs to the US economy also made them vulnerable to it. When consumers north of the border stopped buying goods during the 2000-2001 recession, 400,000 border workers were laid off. And export-industry wages, far from rising, remained flat, while prices of milk, tortillas, gasoline, bus fare and most working-class necessities skyrocketed.

    But the most devastating effect on workers came from privatization, enforced by NAFTA's mandate to make Mexico more investor-friendly. As ports, railroads, airlines, mines, telephones and many other large national enterprises were sold off, sometimes for just a fraction of their worth, new private owners cut labor costs by slashing jobs and gutting union contracts. In NAFTA's first decade, Mexico's privatization created more billionaires than any other country's in the world.

    CAFTA is built on the same political premise. It seeks to reinforce the transformation of Central American economies, maintaining a low standard of living as a means to attract investment in factories producing, not for an internal market, but for export to the US. Understandably, this vision is hardly popular among workers and unions. But hundreds of thousands of Central American jobs are already tied to export production, and the Bush administration can and does use them as bargaining leverage, threatening economic disaster by raising the specter of import barriers against countries that won't adopt CAFTA.

    CAFTA promises to extend the harmful impacts of NAFTA to Mexico's weaker southern neighbors. Most Central American nations currently belong to the Caribbean Basin Initiative, which requires participating countries to uphold internationally recognized labor norms. Using the example of NAFTA's notoriously ineffective labor side agreement, CAFTA requires only that governments enforce their own laws, which are often far weaker.

    Central American public sector workers have been especially keen observers of the Mexican experience. Honduras's longshore workers' union has twice beaten back government efforts to privatize the docks of Puerto Cortez, successfully mobilizing the whole town in the process. "We put our union's assets, like our soccer field and clinic, at the service of the town," explains Roberto Contreras, a union officer and Honduran representative for the International Transport Federation. "When the government tried to privatize our jobs, we told people that if we didn't cooperate to defeat it, the whole town would lose, not just the port workers."

    In El Salvador, huge protests accompanied government efforts to privatize the healthcare system. And in Costa Rica, a massive strike by public telephone and electrical workers forced the government to withdraw from CAFTA negotiations in 2003.

    This March, a popular protest against CAFTA turned violent in Colotenango, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. After the Guatemalan Congress ratified CAFTA, popular organizations began mounting highway blockades throughout the country, effectively halting commerce and travel. At a blockade in Colotenango, at the Puente Naranjales crossroads, police and the army fired on the crowd. Juan Lopez Velásquez was killed, and nine others were wounded by bullets.

    Ironically, the Bush administration has had more success strong-arming Central American countries than their more powerful South American neighbors, or the US Congress. In 2003, the World Trade Organization talks in Cancun collapsed amid huge protests, and later in Miami, the big South American economies of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela told the administration they had little interest in its carefully-orchestrated march towards a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

    Even in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the administration could only muster a one-vote, 216-to-215 majority in the US Congress to give it fast track trade negotiating authority. Almost all observers agree that if Bush had the votes to ratify CAFTA, he would have introduced it into Congress long ago. The fact that the agreement has been negotiated, has been ratified in most Central American countries (although amid bullets, clubs and chanting protestors), and has yet to be introduced for ratification in Washington, is the best indication that CAFTA's political support is shrinking, not growing.

    While Bush and the agreement's corporate backers still want it, it's getting harder for them to point to anyone else who does.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    desktop
    Posts
    1,760
    Hey Darlene,

    Did you see the policy analysis commentary of CAFTA today?

    http://alipac.us/ftopict-1737.html

    We are being "shafted" into CAFTA
    "This country has lost control of its borders. And no country can sustain that kind of position." .... Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
    Yankee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Posts
    64
    This agreement sucks. It's just another pact to move more American jobs down to countries where their workers work for 2 cents an hour and increase Corporate profits. Bush is a disgrace to our nation. I truly believe he will be remembered as the worst President we have ever had if he doesn't take a complete 180 in reagrds to the policy he advocates.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Husker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    the Christian Holy Town of Gretna, NE
    Posts
    790

    Re: Central America Up in Arms over CAFTA

    Quote Originally Posted by Darlene
    "We chased them out, and then we went into the chambers ourselves," says Erasmo Flores, president of the Sindicato Nacional de Motoristas de Epuipo Pesado de Honduras (SINAMEQUIPH), the union for Honduras's port truckers. "Then we constituted ourselves as the congress of the true representatives of the Honduran people, and voted to scrap Congress's ratification."

    Hmm......... Sounds like a plan for the US capitol hill

    Bands of angry "vigalantee's" (in bushy speak) storm the hill, and drive off the worthless pollies, then "constitute" ourselves as the true representatives of the people of USA, and vote to scrap legislation!

    I LOVE it

    H.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dman1200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    3,631

    Re: Central America Up in Arms over CAFTA

    Quote Originally Posted by Husker
    Quote Originally Posted by Darlene
    "We chased them out, and then we went into the chambers ourselves," says Erasmo Flores, president of the Sindicato Nacional de Motoristas de Epuipo Pesado de Honduras (SINAMEQUIPH), the union for Honduras's port truckers. "Then we constituted ourselves as the congress of the true representatives of the Honduran people, and voted to scrap Congress's ratification."

    Hmm......... Sounds like a plan for the US capitol hill

    Bands of angry "vigalantee's" (in bushy speak) storm the hill, and drive off the worthless pollies, then "constitute" ourselves as the true representatives of the people of USA, and vote to scrap legislation!

    I LOVE it

    H.
    I don't think that's too far fetched and could happen in the not so distant future if Jorge and his cronies don't get their act together. Not saying I advocate that, but the government may make the public angry enough if they continue to thwart the will of the people.
    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    2,137

    sounds like a plan

    for all you beatles fans!

    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it's evolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don't you know that you can count me out?

    Don't you know it's gonna be
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright?

    You say you've got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We'd all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We are doing what we can
    But if you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell is, brother, you'll have to wait





    Don't you know it's gonna be
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright?

    You say you'll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it's the institution
    Well, you know
    You'd better free your mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow

    Don't you know it's gonna be
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright?
    Alright? orld
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •