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National Latino Congreso 2012
May 17-19, 2012

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2007 APPROVED RESOLUTIONS » Resolution

Resolution 6.08 - Oppose Expansion of NAFTA/CAFTA

This Resolution was Approved by the National Latino Congreso on Day Two Saturday October 6th

Result: Originally Passed by the 2007 National Latino Congreso; Amended in 2008

Author: Mr. Oscar Chacon

Organization: National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC)

Phone: 562.243.5559     Email Address: jmcabrera@nalacc.org

Show Organizations who Support or Oppose this Resolution

WHEREAS the National Latino Congreso, on September 9, adopted Resolution 4.3, which resolved,
“that our organizations oppose new trade agreements based on the Free Trade Agreement architecture as the model to advance regional integration, and instead will actively work to generate support for alternative approaches based on recognition of the significant social and economic asymmetries between the U.S. and its neighbors in Latin America”; and

WHEREAS with regards to immigration, the failed “free trade” policies of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), binding into treaty form the policies enforced by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, referred to as the “Washington Consensus,” have resulted in serious economic stagnation in Mexico, and have decimated rural populations in Mexico, leading to the displacement of 1.3 million Mexican peasant farmers, tearing at the fabric of local communities and families, resulting in a vast increase in immigration from Mexico to the United States of workers in search of decent economic opportunities, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is projected to do the same to Central America; and

WHEREAS the Bush administration, rather than acknowledge the root of the current so-called “immigration crisis” in the failure of the economic polices of NAFTA and calling for its renegotiation, has instead turned towards militarization of the border and increased policing and other punitive measures towards undocumented immigrants, and has negotiated and signed bilateral “free trade” agreements (FTAs) with the governments of Peru, Colombia, and Panama, following the same failed trade policy model of the NAFTA and CAFTA, even including the devastating agricultural provisions, which will likely result in further hunger and displacement; and

WHEREAS with regards to the environment, even the “modified” FTAs with Peru, Panama, and Colombia will lead to dramatic increases in mining, oil and natural gas exploration and extraction projects, leading to extensive damage to the environment, especially the Andes mountains region and the Amazon basin, which is the largest virgin forest on the planet, along with negative impacts for the Indigenous people who live in these regions; and

WHEREAS with regards to economic development, the FTAs with Peru, Colombia and Panama, fail to ensure that foreign investment contributes to national development by restricting the governments’ ability to regulate foreign investment capital and giving foreign investors the right to sue sovereign Latin American countries in secret, closed tribunals over health, safety, and other pro-development regulations, as well as subjects Peru to compensatory claims for reversing its Social Security privatization; and

WHEREAS with regards to workers’ rights, the FTAs of Peru, Panama, and Colombia continue to pit workers in the United States against workers in Latin America while failing to address key workers’ rights issues, meanwhile of the 144 trade union murders worldwide in 2006, the single country of Colombia accounted for more than half the victims with 78 unionists killed last year, and two trade unionists were killed in Panama just this past August; and

WHEREAS protests against the FTAs in Panama, Colombia, and Peru since the onset of negotiations have been regular and increasing, such as the nationwide strike on July 12, 2007 in Peru led by led by teachers unions, peasant farm groups, Indigenous organizations and unions representing mining and manufacturing workers, demonstrating the depth and breadth of massive citizen rejection of the “free trade” agreements; and

WHEREAS the labor federations of Peru (the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores del Perú and the Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú) sent a joint letter to the U.S. Congress on August 20, 2007, urging them to oppose the “modified” version of the U.S.-Peru “free trade” agreement because of “the fact that the new labor obligations refer only to the ILO Declaration of 1998, instead of the eight conventions on fundamental labor rights that serve as its foundation;” and

WHEREAS Latino immigrant and supporter organizations, including the Association of Displaced Afro Colombians, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras, the National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and Peruvian-Americans for Fair Trade, sent a letter to the United States Congress on September 24, 2007 reminding them that the U.S.-Peru FTA “was passed by Peruvian Congress in 2006 in a lame-duck session with very little public support and ignoring a request for a national referendum; and

WHEREAS eighty percent of Peruvian Congress members who voted for this FTA had already lost their seats in the elections that predated the vote,” and urging them to reject the U.S.-Peru FTA because the “United States can truly spread democracy and freedom by example, not by imposing economic policies that will increase corruption, poverty and abuse among impoverished nations;” and

WHEREAS not one labor union, consumer, Latino civil rights, environmental, anti-poverty, family farm or faith group in the United States supports the “modified” U.S.-Peru “free trade” agreement;

WHEREAS the Bush administration sent the U.S.-Peru “free trade” agreement to the United States Congress for ratification on September 30, 2007, starting the “Fast Track” 90-day clock towards an automatic vote, and the FTAs with Colombia and Panama may follow shortly thereafter; and

WHEREAS Latinos have deep understanding of the damages that the NAFTA/CAFTA “free trade” model has wrought, both on our countries of origin and well as on us as Latinos in the United States, by pitting workers against each other and causing a “race to the bottom” in wages and working conditions, by damaging our shared environment, by undermining the provision of public services, by privileging investors’ rights over public interest regulation, by devastating rural communities and traditional family farms, and for many other reasons, and therefore have a particular legitimacy as well as responsibility to oppose the expansion of that failed model, and to advocate for a new vision of fair trade between the United States and our Latin American neighbors that will contribute to social and economic sustainable development in all participating countries; and

Whereas, "Free Trade" agreements implemented over the past 15 have dismantled entire sections of the economies south of the border - from manufacturing production to agricultural production causing unemployment for millions of workers, tearing apart the social fabric and finally pushing the workers of Latin America into an arduous migration to the United States in quest to sustain their families; and

Whereas, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) - an offspring of NAFTA - has increased the militarization of Mexico, under the direct control of the United States, in the name of fighting "narco-terrorism", while its real function is to repress the growing movement of resistance across Mexico in
opposition to NAFTA and privatization;

1. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the organizations present at the Latino Congreso of 2007, are strongly opposed to expanding the failed NAFTA and CAFTA through the “free trade” agreements between the United States and Peru, Colombia, and Panama, will mobilize our constituencies to work in vehement opposition to their passage, and call on the U.S. Congress directly to reject these agreements; and

2. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we reject the "Free Trade" agreements throughout the Americas and call for their renegotiation and ultimately for their repeal; and

3. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call for the repeal of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)
between the United states, Mexico and Canada; and

4. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we reject the Guest Worker Programs as contrary to the interest of
both immigrant and native-born workers and that we call for the Legalization and Papers for All workers, documented or undocumented.