Just as we're hearing about the impressive uprising in Burma against the military dictatorship - being led by Buddhist priests no less - the priests in this hemisphere are also getting active. (Check out Gringos Against CAFTA for ongoing updates and great photos on this story.)
According to the Spanish AP (my translation),
The religious leaders, represented by Father Ignacio Trejos, detailed their reasoning in an 8-page document entitled, "Ethical Evaluation of the FTA," as only 10 days remained before the referendum that will decide the fate of the commercial pact in this country.
"We have been asked by our Church to remain neutral on this important issue, which is the referendum on the FTA. This would mean no more or less than the total disfiguration [of our church], since the Church should always be on the side of the truth, justice and the social well-being," wrote Trejos.
Among the reasons mentioned for their opposition is that the pact was negotiated in secret without citizen input, and that there were no safeguards for the rights of oppressed peoples.
For the prelates, "The FTA is equivalent to a reform of the state by stealth, introduced from outside the country."
Costa Ricans area also upset about the Bush administration's ambassador interfering in the referendum, as Xinhua reports in Spanish (again my translation):
Costa Rican chancery to analyze denunciation against U.S. ambassador
San Joe, Sept. 22, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - The legal department of the Chancery of Costa Rica will analyze the denunciation made by several unions against the U.S. ambassador in the Central American country, Mark Langdale.
According to information published today in the newspaper “La República”, the ambassador is cited for his alleged participation in the campaign in favor of the free trade agreement between Central America, the United States, and the Dominican Republic.
The denunciation against the U.S. ambassador was presented by the union to the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), which transferred the filing to the Chancery, where a legal team confirmed that it will study the matter in the coming days.
The Employees Association of the Costa Rican Electrical Institute, the National Union of Social Security Administration Employees, and the National Association of Public Employees criticized the ambassador not only pronounced himself in favor of the FTA, but also participated in related activities.
The Chancery did not set a deadline to make a finding in the denunciation case.