Guatemala became the third Central American country to ratify CAFTA on Thursday. Honduras and El Salvador had previously ratified the treaty. As was true in those countries, protesters attempted to block the vote, asserting that the treaty elevates business interests over the interests of the poor. According to the AP:
Shrugging off rowdy protests in the streets, Guatemala's Congress voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to ratify a Central American free trade agreement with the United States. The 126-12 vote had been delayed by days of street protests that had kept lawmakers from reaching their chambers for some sessions.
El Salvador and Honduras had earlier approved the agreement, which is still pending before the U.S. Congress.
Hundreds of police ringed the area around the legislature in downtown Guatemala City, with water cannons and truncheons to hold back 600 union members, farmers and students who were demanding a national referendum on the deal, which they said would hurt the nation's poor.
A vote has not yet been scheduled in the US Congress.