As we've reported, Costa Ricans on October 7th will have an unprecedented opportunity to vote in a popular referendum on whether the country - Central America's oldest and strongest democracy, according to the State Department - will join CAFTA.
Recently, this drama has involved the resignation of top government officials who have been using threats and scare tactics to try to win support for CAFTA.
And then, over the weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) went down to Costa Rica to let folks know that the scare tactics and the bullying are based on lies and hoaxes. According to Diario Extra:
- The Bush administration has threatened Costa Rica with elimination of its current duty-free access in many products. According to Sanders: "That's absolutely false. Costa Rica will continue to benefit from the Caribbean Basin Initiative because it's a law and its existence depends exclusively on the U.S. Congress. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are talking about getting rid of this law."
- Michaud pointed out that the Clinton administration promised a reduction in illegal immigration if NAFTA is signed, but that instead that NAFTA has caused a sharp increase in displacement and immigration.
- Sanders said that, if the U.S. had a popular referendum on CAFTA, it would have gone down.
Now, that's people's solidarity and diplomacy. Hat tip to Sanders and Michaud!