Here's William McNary of USAction, an organization that has done extensive work opposing social security privatization in the United States:
"...the same corporate forces that tried to destroy our Social Security, under the guise of 'free trade,' are trying to destroy the social security system in Peru. Congress rejected Social Security privatization in 2005 and should reject it again in 2007 – whether it's for Americans, Peruvians or Canadians. The promise of a secure retirement shouldn’t stop at America's borders."
Lots more after the jump. Also be sure to check out the action alert we sent out last week to sign a petition against the Citibank provision.
Julio Castro Gómez, the National Coordinator of ForoSalud, a coalition of health advocacy groups in Peru, says the Peru FTA will:
"impede efforts to fix what has been done to privatize social security. Because of this we are surprised that these provisions – which have so seriously hindered development in Mexico and other FTA countries – were not fixed in the Democratic Party’s latest deal with President Bush."
Javier Mújica, director of the Human Rights Program at the Center for Labor Assistance in Peru:
"Even though World Bank studies show that the privatized social security policy experiment has been a failure – measured by lower costs to workers or greater coverage – companies like Citigroup, which have participated in the privatization, have benefited enormously. We are worried that the FTA will make it more difficult to improve our social security system, and we would like Democrats in the U.S. Congress, who so valiantly defended the U.S. social security system, to have that in mind when they vote on the Peru-U.S. FTA,"
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine):
"The provisions buried in the Peru FTA that would empower foreign investors to demand compensation if Peru reversed its failed social security privatization are just the latest evidence of why the NAFTA-CAFTA model should not be extended ever again."
Amy Isaacs, National Director of Americans for Democratic Action:
"he Democrats got in right when they enacted Social Security in the 1930s. They got it right again when they improved it in the 1960s. They got it right a final time when they defended it in the 2000s. Now is not the time to go in backward by giving corporations like Citibank the right to use a U.S. trade agreement to undermine Peruvian citizens' abilities to reverse the failed privatization of social security – this would go against a century of getting it right."
Juan José Gorriti, Secretary, General Confederation of Peruvian Workers:
"During the 1990s ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s autocratic regime – taking inspiration from a similar policy imposed on Chile by the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship – imposed a partial privatization of Peru’s social security system…By rejecting the Peru FTA, the U.S. Congress and Democratic Party in particular can show the world that they can advocate – in not only words, but deeds – in favor of a needed change of course from the privatization agenda and, at the same time, work in favor of an economic future of real well-being and dignity for all of the hemisphere’s peoples."
Julio Cesar Bazán, president of the Unitary Confederation of Peruvian Workers:
"For 25 years, Peru’s governments have faithfully implemented neo-liberal policies supported by Washington. While essential services have been privatized, and institutions that are so important to people’s health and retirement security – like social security – have become harder for people to access, income per person in Peru has scarcely grown in a generation. The Peru-U.S. FTA not only does not get us out of this socioeconomic hole, it gives corporations like Citibank the tools to make sure we’re forced to stay there."
Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch:
"Democrats – who are in the majority thanks to successful fair trade-focused campaigns that elected most of their freshmen class and that fought to save our seniors’ safety net – must not allow a Bush-negotiated deal to crush the efforts of Peruvians seeking to reverse their failed privatization. The good news is, there’s time to fix this problem."
Again, check out our latest action alert to sign a petition against the Citibank provision.