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March 19, 2008

Reasons 13,456-13,460 to oppose the Colombia FTA

Just when you thought you had enough reasons to oppose the Colombia FTA, the Uribe administration up and greenlights attacks on peaceful protest organizers - in fact, a march that was one million strong yet got no coverage here in the U.S.

Oh, and what the heck, while we're at it, let's list some other reasons for Colombia FTA opposition.

  1. Unlike Ecuador, which has taken measures to ensure that it's fight against narcotics doesn't harm the environment or people, Colombia has done the exact opposite. The Colombian government under Uribe and his predecessor have wrecklessly spent billions of (our) tax dollars on fumigation-oriented strategies that harm the environment (one of the world's most biodiverse), lead to further human displacement, and haven't even reduced the supply of drugs on U.S. streets. Not to mention the harm to public health and Afro-Colombian rights. (From WOLA.)
  2. As Human Rights Watch shows, the latest paramilitary demobilization is more likely a sham actually meant to protect these jerks. In fact, it seems that there's some reverse outsourcing of murder going on, with a "sharp increase in extrajudicial executions of civilians by the army."
  3. As WOLA shows, "evidence suggests that powerful paramilitary structures have utilized the demobilization process to permanently penetrate political groupings." A former paramilitary leader in fact bragged that "paramilitary groups controlled more than 35 percent of Colombia's national congress... As of August 2007, at least 27 Colombian politicians, including 14 current members of Congress, have been arrested for their alleged links to paramilitary structures."

The entire WOLA report, which is on organized crime groups taking over state structures in Latin America, also has very compelling sections on Peru, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Hey, weren't those some of the countries we JUST signed FTAs with?? Oh, and the organized crime presence in the Central American countries has gotten WORSE since then?

Hmm... I think the corporate lobbies need to check to see if their "global engagement and uplift" machine broke down, you know, the one where America engages with the world through the miracle of FTAs, thus controlling and transforming the world in our image. Nope, I guess it's still pretty much about making a buck on the backs of working people, the environment, and a long term development strategy for poor countries.

On a related note, if you're interested in hearing how our political candidates can dodge their vulnerability on the national security issue by reframing the debate in favor of an agenda of REAL growth and engagement, check out this chat between Bob McChesney and Mark Weisbrot.

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Comments

RuthG

Good points there, Todd!

Here's a great interview with Enrique Daza from Colombia explaining why the US-Colombia FTA & other such trade agreements are bad news. He offers some points most of us don't often consider:
http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=19433

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