Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, was recently in Boston. The Boston Globe carried some of his remarks about globalization and the markets which US companies believe are opened under CAFTA:
One can start with a 2003 article by the US Department of Agriculture, titled ''El Salvador Offers a Balmy Climate for US Agricultural Exports.' Written as the United States pushed for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, it said, ''Some 20 percent of El Salvador's population regularly purchases US food items. . . . With more women joining the labor force and fewer domestic employees to assist in food preparation, the demand for convenience and fast foods is increasing. . . .
''Generally, people living in urban areas consume more bread and meats than tortillas and beans. Urban Salvadorans are very familiar with US-style food, and most US fast-food franchises have outlets in El Salvador. Food courts in shopping malls are popular and viewed as a perfect place to socialize. . . . US foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers are preferred by the younger generation.'
Rosa Chavez, the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, said this is not his idea of globalization.
''It is taking away our identity,' he said last week in Cambridge, where he received an award from the Latino immigration advocacy group Centro Presente. He spoke through an interpreter. ''I talked to a girl recently who was born in the US but whose parents are from El Salvador. She told me that she felt at home on her first visit to El Salvador because she saw McDonald's. I see it as a symbol of how globalization promises so much economically, but impoverishes us by stealing our soul. Right now, the culture of globalization is more about having stuff just for pleasure, hedonism, and power.'