Andean Free Trade Agreements

In 1994, supporters promised that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would help create jobs and prosperity to the U.S, Canada, and Mexico. Yet the real results have been just the opposite: wages have stagnated in Mexico and we’ve lost 3 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Worse yet, some 1.3 million Mexican campesinos have lost their livelihoods, causing a massive increase in displacement and migration.

But instead of fixing the problem, the Bush administration has been attempting to expand the failed NAFTA model to countries around the world – particularly to Latin America. Efforts towards a hemisphere-wide Free Trade Area of the Americas fell apart in November 2003.

Since then, the Bush administration has been trying to pressure smaller countries to sign so-called "free trade" agreements with the U.S. The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was approved by the US Congress in July of 2005.

The attempt to expand NAFTA to the Andean region (comprising Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia) were launched on November 2003, but has faltered. Bolivia never joined, the citizenry having elected a new president – Evo Morales – who had campaigned against the neoliberal model that has kept the Bolivian people impoverished despite vast natural resource wealth. Negotiations with Ecuador have drawn to a halt.

But negotiations have concluded on “Free Trade Agreements” with Peru and Colombia.

Large mobilizations against the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (PUFTA) have wracked Peru for months. [link to] Over 60,000 Peruvian citizens signed petitions demanding that the agreement be submitted to a popular referendum. Anti-PUFTA candidates won a majority in their Congress in June of 2006. But the Congress (that had just been voted out but was still in office!) pulled a sneaky maneuver, voting to approve PUFTA in their last remaining weeks.

Check out Public Citizen for the latest scoop on how to prevent NAFTA expansion to Peru. We can stop the US – Colombia FTA from ever coming to the US Congress for a vote if we stop PUFTA first.


 


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