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Chiapas Article

Demand Transparency and Participation in CAFTA negotiations!

Posted 04/16/2003
From Melinda St. Louis Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator Witness for Peace 1229 15th St., NW Washington, DC 20005

Greetings Friends - I just received this "call for action" from our national WFP office. CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement) is the next step in expanding NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), to include all countries from Mexico through Panama. The effects of NAFTA have contributed to the loss of over 766,000 jobs in the U.S., while increasing the level of poverty in Mexico and displacing hundreds of thousands of families. We must join together to protect both workers and the invironment throughout all the Americas! Please contact your Congressional representative this week! In solidarity -

WITNESS FOR PEACE Action Alert April 15, 2003

Demand Transparency and Participation in CAFTA negotiations!

BACKGROUND As part of our sustained campaign to stop the harmful U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement, Representatives Evans (D-IL) and McGovern (D-MA) are currently circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter, asking other members of Congress to sign on to a letter to President Bush. The letter raises concern over the lack of transparency and the speed of the negotiations for the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

The documents being negotiated under CAFTA are not publicly available, and civil society groups have not been able to participate in any meaningful way in the negotiations. We need your help to get members of Congress to sign this letter to Bush! ACTION Call your Representatives, and urge them to sign the Evans-McGovern Dear Colleague on CAFTA. Tell them that the CAFTA negotiating process lacks transparency and is unfair!

To contact your members' offices by phone, call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your member's office. If you don't know who your representative is, please see

TALKING POINTS Example call on CAFTA Dear Colleague: (Ask for the Foreign Policy Aide.) "Hi, my name is XXX, and I'm calling from XXXXX. I was wondering whether your office has seen the Dear Colleague letter being circulated this by Representatives Evans and McGovern. The letter is directed to President Bush, and calls for greater transparency and public participation in the negotiation process for the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement. Have you seen this letter?"
IF YES: "Do you think your boss will sign on?" Ask them to contact Evans' office for more information or another copy of the letter.
IF NO: "Negotiations for the Central American Free Trade Agreement or CAFTA are underway between the US and five Central American countries. Many are concerned that the negotiation process has been rushed and secretive. The terms and documents of the negotiations have not been made public, and all negotiations are slated to be completed by the end of 2003. Rep. Evans is circulating a letter this week, calling for more civil society participation in the process. The letter specifically calls for better labor protection language in CAFTA. Do you think your boss will sign on?" (For a copy of the letter or more information, tell the Foreign Policy aide to contact Hastie Kargar in Evans' office at 225-5905)

TO SIGN: Contact Hastie Kargar in Evans office at at 225-5905. The letter will remain open through next week. This alert was prepared by Washington Office on Latin America P.S. Thanks to all who participated in the Latin America Solidarity Coalition events in Washington last weekend. The conference was a great success and the "Tour of Shame" march highlighting the damaging policies of Taco Bell, Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative, Occidental Petroleum and the World Bank and IMF was extremely important in making connections between military and economic intervention in Latin America! We educated many more people about the devastating effects of these Free Trade Agreements.

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