Monday, June 20, 2005

Religious groups in opposition to CAFTA

Religious leaders continue to come out in opposition to CAFTA. The Chicago Tribune writes about Guatemalan Catholic Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini who was meeting this weekend with Mexican and Central American immigrants in the Chicago area. Bishop Ramazzini urged them to speak to their Senators in opposition to CAFTA, predicting that CAFTA's passage would be devastating to the region's rural regions and indigenous peoples.

The current issue of US Catholic contains an opinion piece by Kevin Clarke which argues:


Comprehensive trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA reflect the culmination of years of painstaking negotiation. The trouble is virtually all of that massive and in CAFTA's case, mostly secretive dialogue is focused on liberating capital from most reasonable social restraints, leading to diminished food security in weaker nations but new vistas of profit opportunism for large corporations and agribusinesses.

Left out of these deals are responsible side agreements to protect fragile ecosystems and indigenous communities or poor farmers and industrial workers in both the affluent and deprived worlds. The latter two groups typically bear the brunt of the many economic, social, and cultural adjustments such trade deals compel. Global manufacturers, meanwhile, race to the bottom of the wage-scale, placing capital squarely over all other concerns as if profit maximization were the only social good worth realizing through economic treaties.


Salvadoran Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez sent a letter to supporters in the US urging them to oppose CAFTA. His letter includes the following passage:

The biggest danger of CAFTA is that it has as its objective to concentrate in few hands the riches of the country. Few families will be owners and as this has been the tradition, now the riches will be even more concentrated.

CAFTA will concentrate riches and:
1) Destroy the agricultural sector who will sell what little they have to big business in order to survive.
2) Importers will bring in foreign products which will take away the market for medium and small industry and commerce.
3) The privatization of service businesses will augment the riches of the businesses that buy these national institutions.
4) The price of medicines because of patents will increase.
5) Basic food costs will increase.

Finally, CAFTA is an inhumane system which does not concern itself with human beings, especially those most in need. The most serious situation is that CAFTA is a strategic plan to deceive and to fascinate with free trade, similar to the Fallen Angel, the angel of light which really isn't light but its fascination with beautiful supermarkets, luxurious airports and beautiful highways, all prepared so that commerce will be free, without consideration for human beings.

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