CAFTA Passes House of Reps By 2 Votes
The Central American Free Trade Agreement – CAFTA-
Made It Through The House This Week. Thanks
to Robin Hayes changing his vote, and getting a
promise that there would be some action against
China and her textile imports.
Yes, up north here, we just passed CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, in the House of Representatives by two votes. Because Robin Hayes of North Carolina made a deal
to switch his vote, if something was done about China importing its textile products. Did you know that when China joined the World Trade Organization [WTO] in 2001, part of the deal for acceptance was that there would be an “anti-surge” protection, not of electricity, but restricting imports of billions of dollars worth of clothing from China. And these curbs can be continued to be applied by the USA until 2008.
All the blather about “free trade” and lower product costs sounded great to most of us
who did not know that laws in all countries concerned in CAFTA are now subject to challenge in a CAFTA court that will very likely be similar to NAFTA and WTO trade courts. Challenges made to a countryís sovereign law[s] run at greater than 90% success rates, usually being ruled “illegal barriers to free trade,” resulting in severe sanctions being imposed and collected, if challenged and illegal-barrier-ruled law[s]are not changed ASAP. Millions of dollars, we are talking about here.
And what is super terrible is that where the WTO requires a COUNTRY to
challenge a COUNTRYíS laws, CAFTA has taken the page from NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, USA and Canada] that allows a COMPANY or CORPORATION to challenge a COUNTRYíS laws. What is so bad about that?
Imagine you are a Costa Rican. Your entire countryís gross domestic product [GDP] is $35 Billion dollars. Harken Oil Company [our President Bush was an executive with this company] decides to demand what it thinks is its rightful $57 Billion dollars because Costa Rica
has the nerve to have environmental impact laws that interfere with Harkenís investor
rights that halted their oil exploration plans!
$57 Billion – – and the country of Costa Rica has a GDP of only $35 ! ! Is something wrong here??
Rich oil company challenges less wealthy Central American country. Wins in
CAFTA court, as expected. Would that victory not bankrupt the country of Costa Rica? Would they not just be forced to change their sovereign laws?? Is that not exactly what this world wants? And next time, they better not even try to MAKE those laws, because they better think ahead to see that that would possibly go against some profit-driven corporationís wishes and wants. Probably some USA corporation, we are talking about.
Never forget that famous quote from Ralph Nader:
“George Bush is a corporation disguised as a human being.”
You know what comes first in America, for this first decade of the new millennium. And it certainly is not people or justice or freedom. Think of your pensions and your jobs and your country attacking another country falsely, blatantly portrayed for the world as having weapons of mass destruction. While the USA arrogantly hath decided to launch nuclear weapons – – weapons of mass destruction – – into space, in violation of the Outer Space Treaty, and the will of almost all nations on our Planet Earth.
To go to a Central American point of view on CAFTA, please allow to shine a little light on a rather
strange fact first: did you know that El Salvadorís most recent 2004 election pitted two cousins of PALESTINIAN descent against
each other?!! How bizarre is that? Tony Saca of the right wing ARENA party – remember
death squads and terrorization and torture in the civil war of the early 1980ís – defeated
cousin Schafik Handal of the lefter wing FMLN party and is now Prime Minister.
This is in a devastated land where 17% of the gross domestic product comes as “remesas” or remittances sent back to El Salvador from the 2.5 million Salvadorans who work legally and illegally in the ole USA.
6.7 million is the total population of El Salvador, which also happens to be the most densely populated state on the mainland
of the Americas, and the most industrialised country in Central America.
Here is what Professor Benjamin Cuellar of the Institute for Human Rights
at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador says
about all this, from the perspective of a Salvadoran:
“We have the divine right of wealth here [in El Salvador]. God the Father
is the economic power of the rich families, the corporations and US interests. The Son is ARENA itself, which serves the rich, and the Holy Ghost is the media which
support the rich and ARENA, who basically own them. No wonder human rights
are threatened, not only by gangs but in the home.”
“CAFTA is coming and it has provisions to expand the economy, but it will help
only the rich. The government tells lies about how we will invade the United States with tamales and tortillas to drive out hamburgers. Our little industries can’t really compete and will be flooded by American and Chinese products. The Salvadoran winners will be the bankers, the big landowners who build malls and own hotels, the Mercedes dealers. The poor will be the losers, as usual.”
These Cuellar words are from the Peter Davis article of July 11,2005 webpaged below. Here is what Peter states:
“CAFTA advocates say it will diversify the economy, bring jobs to El Salvador and industrialize the workforce. Crucial objections to CAFTA are that it provides no support for labor unions, does not guarantee even minimal working conditions, contains no protections for the environment and will put El Salvador’s small farmers out of business by allowing cheaper corn and beans to come in from the north.” [Think genetically altered corn.]
Yah, Yah, Yah. Emburn this into your brains: WTO Director General Renato Ruggiero already told us that environmental standards “are doomed to fail and could only damage the global trading system.”
So be aware of what we are doing with “the marketplace,” that is the world available to corporate plunder and profit. And the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas is next, the FTAA, that is. To further the plunderation and injustice from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic icebergs atop Canada.
Call your Senators and Representatives as soon as you can to warn them that
you are not in favor of what they are doing, now that you have learned the true danger. Chapter 3 in my book will get you up to speed if you need more information. The newspapers and media in general hardly touch on the true threat to a countryís sovereignty that NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO bring to the better corporation of the worldt.
[For more on this go to the Letter From El Salvador by Peter Davis @
Tele numbers for your Senators in Washington DC
202-225-3121; your Representative in the House go
dial 202-224-3121. It still is your country. Do your duty as an intelligent citizen to inform your representatives what has really happened, and that they should not support the FTAA because it is
bigger and badder in scope than CAFTA and NAFTA.