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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    If USA-dominated CAFTA goes into effect, deaths will shoot t

    Published: Thursday, July 14, 2005
    Bylined to: Arthur Shaw

    If USA-dominated CAFTA goes into effect, deaths will shoot through the roof... guest commentarist Arthur Shaw writes: The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) will render 80% of US exports to the Central America permanently duty free upon implementation ... with most tariffs being removed upon ratification, and all of the targeted tariffs removed within 10 years.

    About 80% of Central America's exports to the US are already duty free ... at least in theory. But there's a catch!

    These two "80 percents" -- The US and the Central American 80 percents -- are not what folks called "symmetrical" ... that is, equal, because the US' 80% contains at least a 100,000 products and the Central American 80% contains only about two dozen products.

    But isn't 80% equal to 80%?



    Because the Central American 80% doesn't include its most important product and export -- sugar -- and sugar is in the Central American 20%.


    CAFTA is a proposed treaty between the United States and five Central American states (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua). The trade ministers or presidents of the six states have already signed CAFTA. But in order for the deal to become a treaty and law, the legislatures of all six states must vote and ratify CAFTA. To date, the legislatures of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have ratified CAFTA.

    On June 30, 2005, the US Senate approved CAFTA, voting 54 to 45.

    Sometime in either mid- or late July, the US House of Representatives will vote on CAFTA. A majority of House members ... including a significant number of GOPs ... now oppose CAFTA while another sizeable bloc of GOPs in the House remains uncommitted.

    * If, contrary to current expectations, the Bush regime pulls off a legislative miracle and fools the House into approving CAFTA, the agreement will then be combined with the proposed US-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement to make a seven party deal.

    If the legislatures of Costa Rica and Nicaragua then ratify CAFTA, it finally becomes law. Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defense, accused Venezuela of lobbying the legislatures of Costa Rica and Nicaragua not to ratify CAFTA ... suggesting that Venezuela may behind the US failure to get the deal ratified.

    For the Bush regime to win on CAFTA, it must "get over" in the US House of Representatives and in the Costa Rican and Nicaraguan legislatures. Most of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, the country's legislature, understandably and justifiably despise the Nicaraguan president Enrique Bolanos who signed CAFTA and the national assembly may not ratify CAFTA.


    The Office of the United States Trade Representative provides the full text of the voluminous CAFTA agreement as well as section-by-section summary of the agreement. The 27-page section-by-section summary tries but fails to whitewash this imperialist deal.

    I have chosen to discuss only some of the most obnoxious sections of the deal.

    US sugar producers are some of the strongest and most vigorous opponents to the ratification of CAFTA by the US. So, the Bush regime has filled the CAFTA agreement with a bunch of huge concessions to them, designed to pacify the US sugar lobby.

    Deeply buried in the arcane lingo of trade talk and dispersed over Chapter Three of the agreement and various annexes, schedules, and appendixes is a huge flim-flam or sting operation perpetrated by the rich parasitic Americans on the impoverished people of Central America.

    The summary of Chapter Three in part says this.

    "The Agreement contains several unique features applicable to imports of sugar into the United States. First, the imports under TRQs created in the Agreement will be limited to the lesser of (1) the quantity established in the TRQ, or (2) the exporting Party's trade surplus in specific sugar goods ... The aggregate quantities established in the TRQ are modest -- 107,000 metric tonnes in the first year. The maximum quantities increase to approximately 151,000 metric tonnes in the 15 of the Agreement. The United States will also establish a quota for specialty sugar goods of Costa Rica in the amount of 2,000 metric tons annually. Second, unlike other commodities, the Unites States will not eliminate over-quota duty on imports under the Agreement."

    "TRQs" are preferential tariff-rate quotas which mean certain tariffs still persist in the condition of the so-called "free" trade.

    What the quoted rigmarole above says is that the US, under CAFTA, places a cap on the amount of sugar the Central Americans can import into the US. Under the cap, the Central Americans will pay a certain tariff ... above the cap, they will pay an higher tariff, to be more precise, a lot higher tariff.

    In other words, the rich US parasites promise nothing under CAFTA to the impoverished Central Americans with regard to one of latter's most important products and exports -- sugar, while servile Central American government leaders and "experts" throw their doors wide open and duty free to all of the important exports of the USA.

    This is the biggest sting is the history of the world ... this is a multi-billion dollar sting.

    What's more , the US Trade Representative ... the putative "expert" on these matters ... loudly and arrogantly brags and affirms that under Chapter Three, the Central Americans won't be able to get much more sugar into the United States than they are already importing.

    In a document titled "Agriculture Benefits to Individual Sectors" found on the Trade Representative's site and relating to the sugar sector, we can listen to this joyful bragging by the US Trade Representative.

    "Many Americans consume somewhere between 10 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar PER DAY. By comparison, increased sugar market access of Central America and the Dominican Republic under the CAFTA amounts to only about one and half teaspoons PER WEEK per American. Increased sugar access under the CAFTA amounts to only a small portion of the U.S. sugar production. The increased access in the first year of the agreement is equal to little more that one day's production in the United States. In the first year, increased sugar market access for the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic under the agreement will amount to about 1.2% of the current US sugar consumption, growing very slowly over 15 years to about 1.7% of current consumption. Total US sugar imports have declined by about one-third since the mid-1990s. Sugar imports under the agreement would not come close to returning total US sugar imports to those levels. US over-quota tariff on sugar will not change under the CAFTA. The US over-quota tariff is prohibitive at well over 100%, one of the highest tariffs in the US tariff schedule."

    Could the US Trade Representative have made himself any clearer or more precise in stating that the Central Americans aren't getting anything under CAFTA with regard to the export that means or should mean the most to them?

    Only the brainwashed and treacherous graduates of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Chicago from Central America -- the "experts" who negotiated this pact of treason can possibly not understand the US Trade Representative's point -- the Central American traitors have sold out their own country for a half teaspoon of sugar PER WEEK since Central America already supplies the United States a teaspoon PER WEEK.

    * Not even the ancient Judas rivals the "brilliant" Central American graduates of the foul US institutions of higher education who pretend to have negotiated rather than submitted to this dirty pact.

    Chapter Three also outlines a more complicated and devious fraud relative to textiles, designed to pillage the Central Americans of their cut of the money from this industry and to block the entry of the Chinese into the textile industry in the region.

    A few may wonder "How can you say that CAFTA is not good for the United States when it so richly exploits the Central Americans?"

    Lies, theft, and deceit constitute the guiding and premier principles of imperialists, fundamental Christians and common criminals ... not of the American people.

    Chapter Seven of the agreement claims it wants to get rid of "technical barriers to trade" which are the Central American rules, regulations, and laws that affect trade. The agreement believes that these barriers can be best removed if there's transparency. And transparency requires that a Party (read Central American government) "allows persons of the other Parties (read USA) to participate in the development of technical regulations and standards on a non-discriminatory basis."

    If persons of Honduras or of Guatemala or of El Salvador or the other Central American Parties believe that they are going to participate on either a discriminatory or non-discriminatory basis in the development of US rules and standards whether in the administrative or the legislative spheres, then they are nuts and absolutely nuts.

    But persons of the US Party will participate on a non-discriminatory basis in the development of Honduran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Dominican, and Salvadoran rules, regulations, laws, and standards. You can bet on it.

    "Chapter Nine," the summary of the US Trade Representative says "provides comprehensive obligations requiring each Party to apply fair and transparent procurement procedures and rules and prohibiting each government and its procuring entities from discriminating in purchasing practices against the goods, services, and suppliers from the other Parties."

    It sounds so evenhanded ... so equal ... so reciprocal, doesn't it?

    But the US knows that these Central Americans have never even imagined producing even one-millionth of the infinite number and kinds of goods and services demanded by US procuring entities. So, there is neither possibility nor opportunity nor need to discriminate against Central Americans in the US procurement process. But that's not the case in the reverse, the US produces ... or will pretend it does ... everything demanded by the Central American procuring entities.

    * This provision -- Chapter Nine -- illustrates the disparate results resulting from lack of "symmetry" between the US and the other CAFTA parties although the agreement speaks of the "Parties" as if they are all "symmetrical."

    This "free" trade thing contemplates more than just the flow ... in and out ... of goods and services, it also contemplates the flow of capital or investment. Most of the investors that the agreement has in mind are big imperialist US corporations. "Investors enjoy six basic protections:

    (1) non-discriminatory treatment relative to domestic investors as well as investors of non-parties:

    (2) limits on "performance requirements";

    (3) free transfer of funds related to investors;

    (4) protection from expropriation other than in conformity with customary international law;

    (5) a "minimum standard of treatment' in conformity with customary international law;

    (6) and the ability to hire key managerial personnel without regard to nationality."

    Somewhere in the preceding quote there's some trick or rip off but the Bush regime has hid it rather well.

    Under Chapter Thirteen Central America "will ensure a level playing field" by turning over the control of its telecommunications system to the US imperialists because the agreement "will ensure a level playing field for new entrants (read the USA) in the telecommunications field.

    Chapter Thirteen also seeks to ensure that telecommunications regulations are set by independent regulators (not connected with the Central American "authorities" but closely connected to the US) applying transparent procedures (the US is told everything), and is designed to ensure adherence to the principles of deregulation (private ownership and control of everything) and technological neutrality (by foreigners only from the US)."

    This is one of the numerous US national security provisions of CAFTA, the busy US spies will be given easy and ready access to the communications of the Central American people.

    After CAFTA, US-sponsored death squads, trained at the savage and barbaric School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, may be more precise in their murder operations against leftist, liberals, and other progressives because the USA Patriot Act "REQUIRES" telecommunications companies to rat out their customers to US spies and their professional murderers.

    Central America, especially El Salvador and Guatemala, have a lot of experience with the murderous operations of US-trained and US-sponsored death squads.

    The most barbaric and genocidal provision of CAFTA is found in Chapter Fifteen which "complements and enhances existing international standards for the protection of intellectual property and the enforcement of intellectual property rights, consistent with US law." This one is designed to assist the physical removal of potentially a million people living with terminable diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, in the CAFTA region.

    But more about the genocidal and national security aspects later.

    But now, we must remember the "level playing field." "Consistent with US law" and not the law of the other Parties to the agreement?

    How is that a level playing field?

    CAFTA ... or, more correctly, the US ... requires that the Central Americans ratify several others intellectual property rights treaties which in effect gives US imperialism the right to decide who lives or dies in Central America.

    And this, the US calls, is a level playing field?

    US imperialism is doing everything it can to prevent people afflicted HIV/AIDS from getting the medications they need to stay alive. Worldwide, there are about 40 million people with HIV/AIDS and about 10,000 people die everyday from it. US imperialism has cooked up these intellectual property rights, patents, data exclusivity, and other exotic notions to exterminate millions.

    Chapter Fifteen of CAFTA threatens the lives of people with HIV/AIDS. The provision prevents participating governments (Parties) from manufacturing low-cost generic versions of patented drugs, including the anti-retro-virals that HIV-positive people depend on to stay alive. For example, if CAFTA becomes law, HIV-positive Guatemalans who currently pay $400 a year for these life-saving drugs will be forced to pay $10,000 per year for the same drugs!

    When Cuba proposed to manufacture anti-retro-virals and give them away free of charge worldwide to the victims of the pestilence, US imperialism in May 2003 ... only two months after the invasion of Iraq ... began to spread the dirty lie that Cuba has biological weapons of mass destruction or was developing the means to produce such weapons.

    Former US President Jimmy Carter, a nuclear physicist, went to Cuba, inspected its research facilities, and announced that the Bush regime was lying about WMDs in Cuba. But who knows where the Bush's WMD lies on Cuba would have led if there weren't at least one important person -- Jimmy Carter -- with real integrity in the United States?

    When Brazil and South Africa proposed similar antiretroviral initiatives as the Cubans, the US imperialism threatened all kinds of trade retaliations, but Brazil is producing some low-cost generics for its own victims. The enraged United States, seeing that lives are being saved, is relentlessly harassing the initiative.

    When Sudan began to produce anti-retro-virals without the permission of the patent-holding US drug companies, US imperialism, during the Clinton Administration, bombed the Sudanese antiretroviral factory in Khartoum. The Clinton Administration falsely claimed that terrorist weapons were being made in the factory.

    In 2003, the AIDS statistics for the CAFTA countries were: Costa Rica "officially" had 12,000 adults living with AIDS and had suffered 900 deaths from the disease. El Salvador had 28,000 such adults with 2,200 deaths. Guatemala 74,000 and 5,800 deaths. Honduras 59,000 and 4,100 deaths. Nicaragua 6,200 and 500 deaths. Finally, the Dominican Republic had 88,000 and 7,900 deaths.

    So, as of 2003, CAFTA countries "officially" had 267,200 people living with HIV/AIDS.

    If CAFTA goes into effect, the deaths will shoot through the roof.

    * Behold the beast in the White House which preys on both the starving and the sick. It is the ugliest of things.

    "Chapter Sixteen provides for cooperative consultations if a Party (the US) believes that another Party (the Central Americans or Dominicans) is not complying with the obligation in the Chapter. If the matter concerns a Party's (Central American or Dominican) compliance with its obligation not to effectively enforce its labor law, the complaining Party (the US) may , after an initial 60-day consultation period under Chapter Sixteen, invoke the provisions of Chapter Twenty (Dispute Settlement) by requesting additional consultation or a meeting of the Agreement's Cabinet-level Free Trade Commission under that Chapter. If the Commission is unable to resolve the dispute, the matter may be referred to a dispute settlement panel. The Parties will maintain a roster of experts (venal and pro-imperialist prostitutes) to serve on any dispute settlement panel convened to hear disputes regarding a Party's (Central American) obligation to effectively enforce its labor laws."

    The labor laws will be drafted or amended to reflect the neo-liberal bias against labor.

    * The "experts" always find for whoever pays them the best bribe. U.S. is more qualified to pay the best bribe.

    Central American labor doesn't have a chance within this arrangement. This is a set-up.

    It's not just that Central American workers will lose their collective bargaining power under CAFTA, the Central American states will lose their sovereignty over the terms and conditions of work of their population either to the US or to the "experts" (whores mostly hand-picked by the US) on the dispute settlement panel.

    The only way for the workers to defend their labor rights is to act outside of the law because under CAFTA, the U.S. and its "experts" will become the law. Behind the US, and its panel of "experts," stands a costly and elaborate arbitration procedure under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, which is also loaded against Central America.

    Please don't overlook the detail that under CAFTA, the US supervises the enforcement of labor law in Central America. If the US believes that the Central Americans are not " 'EFFECTIVELY' enforcing its labor law" drafted in accordance with CAFTA predatory principles, the US can demand a cabinet level meeting and if that meeting doesn't work out, call in its stinking, lying panel of "experts.

    * By "effective" the US means brutal and savage, like the atrocities the Guatemalan "Party" recently committed to disperse the protesters against CAFTA.

    Chapter Seventeen uses the exact same trick -- dispute settlement by a panel of "experts" -- to destroy the sovereignty of the Central Americans over their environment. Once Central America sells or otherwise loses control over its environment, there isn't very much left to govern.

    Chapter Eighteen supplies additional lies from the Bush regime about transparency.

    What's with these Central Americans and Dominicans?

    Don't they know the Bush lied the United States into war with Iraq, using the WMD and the Iraq and 9/11 falsehoods. So, the Bush regime is a confirmed liar. Transparency is impossible with such people, because everything they say is suspect. But on the other hand, if Bush can lied the United States into war, he may be able to lie Central America into CAFTA.

    Is that transparent?

    Chapter Nineteen sets up a Free Trade Commission, comprised of trade ministers (the US minister and his puppets) to supervise the implementation and overall operation of the agreement. This farce meets once a year and makes decisions by consensus.

    Chapter Twenty supplies a detailed discussion of dispute settlement mechanism -- the panel of "experts" trick -- that robs the courts of the Central American countries of the judicial power the hear and decide what is or is not just with regard to labor, the environment, and everything else pertaining to the agreement. This chapter also discusses the links between the CAFTA and the World Trade Organization.


    * Everybody in the world knows that the playing field between the US and Central America isn't level, but only a few ... if that many ... know about the nonsense that this unleveled field favors the Central Americans, not the US.

    You see, back in the '80s, the US imperialists gave Central American exports tariff free access to the US market in a deal known as the Caribbean Basin Initiative. That's when the playing field supposedly became unleveled, according to the US imperialists, because, don't you see, the Central Americans could get their products into the US without paying tariffs, but the US imperialists couldn't get their products in Central America without paying tariffs.

    Since the 80s, access to the US market grew even more important to the Central Americans as a result of the stimulus that the Caribbean Basin Initiative gave to their exports to the US.

    The Bush regime has threaten to level the paying field by canceling the Caribbean Basin Initiative for Central America, if the Central American countries turned down the CAFTA agreement. Bush believes that if the blackmail or extortion of the Central America fails, the US economy will not be hurt because the status quo will prevail with regard to US exports in Central America and competing US products sold within the United States will be spared the competition from tariff-free Central American imports.

    However, Central America may be seriously hurt economically if the extortionist Bush regime restore the tariffs that the Caribbean Basin Initiative removed.

    Donald Rumsfeld ... the mad dog of US imperialism ... said recently that US and Central American "cooperation" in many fields will come to a halt if Central America refuses to go for CAFTA "In my view, a rejection of the Central American Free Trade Agreement would do more than simply bring this cooperation and much of the region's progress to a halt. Our neighbors do not live in a vacuum and they are facing many pressures to turn away from a pro-American stance. Cuba and Venezuela -- no friends to the United States -- are promoting radicalism and attempting to subvert the democratic governments in the region. Indeed, Venezuela is actively lobbying local legislators in Central America to vote against CAFTA."

    The difference between Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and CAFTA is that the CBI is a tariff removing deal ... but CAFTA is a fake tariff removing deal AND a sovereignty-destroying deal for the Central Americans. CAFTA does not level the playing field, rather it makes the playing field more unleveled to the benefit of the US and to the detriment of Central America and the Dominican Republic.

    The deal doesn't make sense on economic grounds for the Central Americans, Mexico foolishly sign a softer or milder trade deal than CAFTA ten years ago with the US. Since signing, the wages of industrial workers have fallen 25% and over 700,000 small farmers in Mexico have lost their land. During the same period, migration from Mexico to the US has doubled.

    US imperialism is extremely pleased with all three developments, including the increased migration because it helps the imperialists to "in-source," that is, replace higher-paid US workers with lower-paid foreign workers inside the US and "out-source," that is, replace higher-paid US workers with foreign workers abroad.

    Years ago, undocumented workers in the US from Central America or wherever mostly did work that US workers refused to do. But times have changed. Today, the undocumented workers also do work on a large scale that the US workers want to do, but not at the wage that the undocumented will do it.

    "Insourcing" is an rapidly growing and spreading phenomenon.

    The GOP bosses tell the US workers to lower their wage demands or they will be either insourced or outsourced.

    There is a lamentable tendency in some liberal and even left circles to sneer at the "greedy" or the "overpaid" US workers in this predicament until the same imperialist trick is used on other workers who are closer to home, such as the Central American workers who may find jobs in their own countries in the promised textile industry. The US imperialists will tell the Central American workers to lower and lower and lower their wage demands because they must compete against the cheaper Indian and Chinese labor. That's why industrial wages in Mexico have dropped drastically during the NAFTA, the deal between Mexico, US and Canada.

    In addition to leveling the playing field, CAFTA is supposed to provide something called "sustainable development." The development, if any, is sustainable only because its benefits, if any, are obtainable by less than 20% of the population. Development that includes the scorned 80% of the population is deemed too costly or is denounced as squandering. The slave wages that the US imperialists will pay the Central American workers under CAFTA will leave the benefits, if any, of CAFTA-related development unobtainable to the workers. The small farmers ... already impoverished ... will be wiped out by heavily subsidized US agricultural imports that under CAFTA face no retraining tariffs and the landless will be driven into immense shantytowns of Central America ... unless they migrate to US or somewhere ... to watch from afar the wonders of the glorious "sustainable development" exclusively for the privileged 20% of society.

    Corruption and extortion, as usual, are the main tools the US uses to get CAFTA ratified in Central America. The corruption (paying and taking bribes for political favors) of government officials outside of the US is the main -- but not the only -- responsibility of the US State Department, US Agency for International Development, Central Intelligence Agency and the US Department of Defense. All the core institutions of a foreign state, especially those in Central America, are corrupted -- the military, police, civil service, legislature, judiciary and senior executives. All of them are on the take.

    In addition to public officials, US imperialism in the '80s … about the same time the Caribbean Basin Initiative was launched … decided to corrupt "civil society," not just public officials. So, US imperialism set up the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which promotes corruption and which divides "civil society" into four categories or "institutes" -- the rightwing, the liberal wing, the bourgeoisie and labor -- and corrupts all of them with bribes until it gets about 20% of population who will support the US over and against the government of their own country. Then the US tries to strip the country of its sovereignty.

    This is what CAFTA tries to do.

    In 2005, NED will get $80,000,000 from the US Congress to corrupt "civil society."

    * That doubles what it got in 2004. A good portion of that money will be spent corrupting Central America.

    Francisco Villagran de Leon, the former Guatemalan ambassador to the Organization of American States, the United Nations, Canada, Norway and Germany, seems to be NED's point man on the CAFTA operation. Villagran is also a former NED "fellow" or endowee.

    We should not overlook the detail that NED in addition to promoting corruption also performs a very important money laundering role for US imperialism.


    "The coming vote on CAFTA is a national-security vote. Let there be no doubt." -- Donald H.Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, writes in his June 8 ed-op for the Miami Herald.

    * Well, I have no doubt about the CAFTA vote being a national security vote ... the Central Americans under CAFTA won't have any national security.

    Rumsfeld titled his piece "CAFTA good for the US"

    If so, the US is the only country CAFTA is good for ... and I doubt that it is, in fact, good even for the USA.

    Arthur Shaw
    I stay current on Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's fight to Secure Our Border and Send Illegals Home via E-mail Alerts (CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Re: If USA-dominated CAFTA goes into effect, deaths will sho

    If so, the US is the only country CAFTA is good for ... and I doubt that it is, in fact, good even for the USA.
    CAFTA is not good even for the USA. In fact, it is specifically designed to reach "parity" or "symmetry" of costs between US employers and CAFTA employers. With the international trade tribunals deciding the "fate" of labor in the United States....give me a break.

    NO AMERICAN would support CAFTA, not only for what it will do to ending our nation but for the complete deception they are pulling on the CAFTA countries as well. This is not how the American People want to do business. We don't want our lives and liberties cut down by our Government, but likewise, we do not want the lives and liberties of other nations cut down either.


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