Umberto Mazzei has a pretty damning analysis of how Costa Rica is thriving without CAFTA, while Guatemala is suffering with CAFTA.
The message is overwhelming: [Guatemala] "sacrificed" itself to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States for nothing. The CAFTA model, pushing the Central American economy toward the export of non-traditional goods to the United States, has been a pretext for imposing expensive foreign pharmaceuticals as opposed to cheap, national generic drugs, overwhelming the peasant farmer with subsidized imports, and granting extra-territorial jurisdiction to foreign companies.
Non-traditional exports in Guatemala have decreased instead of increasing—contrary to the objectives of CAFTA. In Costa Rica, which remains outside CAFTA, exports of new products and markets have grown. All indicates that the privileged share in an FTA with the United States is more a hindrance than a help.
This comes a few months before Costa Ricans vote in the world's first ever referendum on a trade deal. If you're in DC next Wednesday morning, you might want to check out this debate between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Otton Solis, the fair trader who nearly became Costa Rica's president.