Stop Corporate Dominance- begin with CAFTA
spread the word to stop corporate dominance and their agenda of "free" trade
The final round of negotiations for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) are scheduled to conclude around December, 2003. The talks began January, 2003 and have been conducted quietly so that even some of those opposed to FTAA are unaware of the existence of this agreement.CAFTA is being negotiated by government representatives from United States and Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. It is similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will pave the way for FTAA. U.S. President Bush hopes to close these negotiations as quickly as possible, in part to move the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations forward faster and to further the dominance of transnational corporations.
The effects of NAFTA in the last ten years are documented here: http://www.citizen.org/trade/nafta/index.cfm
Human and labor rights organizations oppose the conditions of CAFTA, because they include the same policies of NAFTA (and FTAA), including:
1. Absence of public forum: The people of the countries involved are given little information about the agreements and are exempted from influencing the negotiations. If the trade agreements were in their best interest the corporations and governments would have no need to shroud the talks in secrecy.
2. Corporate takeover is not democracy: NAFTA has allowed corporations the right to sue governments over regulations that impede their progress and profit. The government's ability to protect its people has been paralyzed, placing profit over people and their environment. This right has been employed 27 times by companies since 1994.
3. Worker's Rights: Laws that protect people in the workplace can be dissolved if challenged by corporations, affecting all countries involved in CAFTA.
4. Environmental Impact: Free trade will allow corporations to challenge environmental laws. These laws can increase corporate costs but they exist to protect land from deforestation and contamination in local communities.
5. Gap widens between "haves" and "have-nots": As corporations continue to dominate the "free" market and services become privatized, the distribution of wealth will become increasingly imbalanced. The cost of living is forever on the rise while jobs are fewer and far between; poverty will increase among the people of the US, Mexico, and central America so that a few corporations can increase their profits.
6. The End of the Family Farm: Corporate farming is already displacing farmers in all countries involved and farmers are being forced to urban areas where jobs are scarce. Farmers are threatened with the loss of crops and seeds. When cross-fertilization with patented genetically engineered seeds occurs from adjacent bio-tech corporate farms, small farmers find that they do not "own" their seeds.
7. Increased Privatization: All public resources, such as education, health care, energy, and water utilities, are threatened by corporate takeover. When public services become another avenue for corporate profit, the people will face increased rates of essential services and rising costs of education and health care, and in many cases access to these services will be denied.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ANALYSIS - Anti CAFTA sites:
And to be fair Pro CAFTA sites:
Stop the FTAA (the next move toward "free" trade in the Americas)
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
Call the capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121
if you need help call the AFL-CIO toll-free at (877) 611-0063
Senator Ron Wyden700 NE Multnomah, #450Portland, OR 97232Phone: (503) 326-7525Fax: (503) 326-7528Senator Gordon Smith121 SW Salmon St., #1250Portland, OR 97204Phone: (503) 326-3386Fax: (503) 326-2900Representative Earl Blumenhauer729 NE Oregon St., Ste. 115Portland, OR 97232Phone: (503) 231-2300Fax: (503) 230-5413Representative Peter DeFazio151 West 7th, Suite 400Eugene, OR 97401Phone: (541) 465-6732Representative Darlene Hooley315 Mission Street SESalem, Oregon 97302(503) 588-9100(503) 588-5517 faxRepresentative Greg Walden843 East Main Street, Suite 400Medford, OR 97504Ph: (541) 776-4646Toll free in Oregon: (800) 533-3303Fax: (541) 779-0204Representative David Wu6 Main, Suite 606 Portland, OR 97205 Phone: (503) 326-2901 Toll Free: (800) 422-4003 Fax: (503) 326-5066
If you would like to contact your representatives via email or this has been forwarded to you and you aren't in Oregon, it's easy to find your representatives at the following websites:
Hi, my name is ____________, I live in ____________, I'm a constituent of Rep. ____________, and I'm calling to urge (her/him) to take a stand against the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA. CAFTA is being negotiated in secret, without transparency or the input of the people who will be most affected by it. The agreement would force Central American governments to privatize their vital public services, denying people access to these services. CAFTA would be bad for Central American workers, whose governments are known for egregious violations of labor rights, and it would be bad for American workers, whose jobs would continue to be lost to low-wage sweatshop workers in Central America. Under CAFTA, Central American farmers could not compete with heavily-subsidized US agroindustry, and would be driven out of business, ultimately causing mass displacement. For all these reasons, I urge Rep. ____________, to take a public stand against CAFTA. This is a very important issue for me, and I will keep it in mind as I go to the polls next November. Thank you.
For updates on Local Actions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SPREAD THE WORD TO STOP CORPORATE DOMINANCE AND THEIR AGENDA OF "FREE" TRADE
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