After 12 years of negotiations, a free trade agreement was passed this year between Chile and the US. I've seen no discussion of this on indymedia yet. The negative consequences have been discussed little in Chile, despite the situation in neighboring Bolivia and Argentina, caused by embracing similar ideologies.
Below is a translated article from the website of the Chilean branch of the anti-globalization group, ATTC. Keep in mind that this is not the opinion of the average citizen, who been extremely misinformed by the corporate media. This article, and more info on the FTA is available in Spanish at http://www.attac.cl
Government and Parliament Mortgage the Destiny of Chile
The government has gravely compromised itself by apporoving a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, which is much more than a simple commerical agreement.
Chile has been left tied up without limits or deadlines in the same model that ruined Argentina and Bolivia and has only brought riches to the large transnationals that benefit with the liberalization of our markets, profit with the end of controls on speculative capitals and step on our legislation.
The government negotiated the FTA almost in secret and the parliament approved it almost without discussion. The citizens were deprived of information. Nor the government nor the parliament listened to the farmers, first nations and workers, enviornmentalists, and citizen's organizations. Only the large business owners, the same as always, and their political representatives celebrated joyously the agreement with the United States.
The parliament passed the FTA with the United States just weeks after the World Trade Organization's meeting in Cancun, where the developing countries that form the G-22, of which Chile is a part of, opposed an agenda of the rich countries that tried to impose greater liberalization and guarantees to transnational capital, without conceeding the liberalization of the markets to agricultural exporters in the south. What the Chilean parliament appoved right now is exactly what the government rejected in the WTO.
Chile was left compromized in the US's strategy which looks to break the possibility that the FTAA negociations are faced with a regional block. By approving this agreement, Chile turned its back on its neighbors.
This is the great political triumph of the United States which tries to unmake the Mercosur and impede the rise of any regional block which would prohibit its hegemony in the region and in the world.
The Chilean government has tried to sell us the agreement with the United States as the cure-all. The experience of Mexico shows that the promises of growth, development, jobs, and opportunities were not met. 10 years after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this has only favored the large multinacional corporations of the United States, and has meant the ruin of Mexican small buisness owners, especially campesinos, it has made employment more precarious, and has caused unemployment to rise.
With an economy 150 times greater than Chile, the US is the only winner in the FTA because above all it has achieved a treaty model with which to impose the FTAA in all of Latin America.
This is just beginning, the government and parliament should help the citizens realize the harmful influence of what they have passed with fanfare in the middle of a campaign of complete misinformation.
The breakdown in Cancun opened the doors for a breakdown of the FTAA. We call social organizations and citizens not to swoon at the denouncement of this FTA that we consider harmful, and to prepare a strong resitance against the FTAA.
We commit to develop a stong campaign of information and action against what we consider prejudicial and grave for Chile. We are decidedly for Latin American integration to develop a common project for our region.
Chile, October 2003