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Other: Free Trade Agreements

by the Editors  |  Issue: September 2014

CAFTA

The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Promoted with similarly glowing promises as NAFTA was, is proving to be an un-mitigated disaster for workers throughout the hemisphere. Coming on top of wars and destabilization in the region, it benefits U.S. based multinational corporations while devastating local governments and economies, leading to even more migration. It is estimated that CAFTA can put up to 5.5 million workers and farmers out of work in the region. The countries are finding themselves in a ”race to the bottom”, competing for investments.

TPP and FTAA

CAFTA as well as the TPP grants investors rights to sue individual countries if “expected future profits” for corporations are infringed on. Patents on seeds for food output are privatizing food production. These and other measures are being propagated and fast-tracked in corporate boardrooms in an aura of secrecy.

The economies of the hemisphere are becoming integrated. Globalization is definitely affecting migration patterns. There are plans to extend CAFTA and NAFTA to the rest of Latin America under the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). Similarly, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will link economies of Asia with the Americas.

What is becoming clear is that neither U.S. workers nor workers in Mexico and Central America stand to benefit. ”Free Trade” as it is called is benefitting global corporations with U.S., Mexican, Central American, Canadian, and soon Asian capitalists increasingly being integrated into one global capitalist class. Borders are eliminated for investment and trade, but not for previously self-sufficient workers throughout the hemisphere, whose standard of living is being decimated in a “race to the bottom.” Previously protected U.S. workers displaced by labor replacing technology or by companies moving to low wage areas are finding themselves victim to the austerity measures, denial of democratic rights, and increasingly the violence that have plagued their Latin American counterparts in the past.

Our fates are intertwined. It is time that we start behaving as a class. The means for our survival should no longer be the “private property” of a global capitalist class that has eliminated borders for its benefit but keeps us divided by them.

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