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AUDIO FILE: The Salvadoran Sttrugle Against Free Trade

On November 10, 2003, at SEIU Local 49 in Portland, Sara Quintanilla (an electrical worker and Secretary General of her union local) spoke about her union's struggle to halt privatization and defeat the Bush Corporate Globalization agenda from taking over El Salvador and all of Latin America.
In spite of international protests and condemnations, the Bush administration hopes to complete the Central American Free Trade Agreement, (CAFTA) negotiations by December 2003. In order to pave the way for CAFTA the right-wing Salvadoran government wants to privatize healthcare, electricity, water, and education. The government has been trying to dismantle the unions, reduce wages, and abuse human rights, but the people of El Salvador and Central America are saying NO! And are calling on our solidarity to support their struggle against CAFTA and the FTAA.

In this audio file Sarah begins by discussing the impact that the privatization of telecommunications and energy have had. "Energy has not been completely privatized yet, that is, only the distribution of energy has been privatized at this time. What has happened with the privatization of telecommunications and the partial privatizastion of energy, there has been an increase of poverty in El Salvador, and of course an increase in the wealth of transnational corporations."

She also speaks about immigration to the United States. "Another phenomenon is the increased immigration to this country. And within the immigration there is an additional problem of the disintegration of family.

Also, unemployment is a big problem. Since the year 1998 there have been more than 25,000 workers layed off. Sarah says that she is an example of this, having been layed off over a year ago. She continues, testifying to government repression against all the union members in the country. "Repression against our union began in 2001, and just since Friday August 31, there have been 55 people fired. The majority of those who have been fired are union leaders or members who are affiliated with our union. Our government is a major violator of labor rights."

This presentation was sponsored by Portland Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition, Portland Central American Solidarity Committee and the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.
Portland Jobs with Justice
This file is 18 and 1/2 minutes in length.
Sarah Quintanilla

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