Communist Party Statement on CAFTA

August 3, 2005

This morning President Bush signed the Central American Free Trade Act-Dominican Republic (CAFTA) a trade agreement between the United States, and El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Last week the bill narrowly passed the Senate after midnight-hour wrangling, threats and bribery by the Republican Party. The Communist Party, USA denounces this agreement and believes it bodes ill for the working people of the U.S. and Central America.

CAFTA is modeled on the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) that has destroyed communities, labor and environmental standards, and jobs for over a decade. CAFTA will bring more of the same. The agreement will only benefit the large transnational corporations, particularly those based in the U.S; it will undermine local laws, protections and regulations in the name of free trade; it will devastate small farmers and indigenous communities; it is a blow against national independence, sustainable development and self-sufficiency.

The promise of new jobs in Central America is really a promise of more misery and poverty. The trade unions, farmers and community organizations of Latin America have seen through the lie. Massive protests in opposition to CAFTA have rocked Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and other countries. In the U.S. the labor whole labor movement as well as students, solidarity activists, religious groups and others strongly oppose CAFTA. The people of the region see that CAFTA s another weapon of the ruling class to maximize profits and assert increasing control over working peoples lives.

Deputy Secretary of State, Robert B. Zoellick said in a May 16, 2005 address to the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation that CAFTA represents a historic opportunity to oppose communism in Latin America. He continues, At root, the debate on CAFTA is fundamentally about America’s role in the world and our relations in this hemisphere

CAFTA is not just a trade agreement. It is also a measure of U.S. political dominance in Latin America. After progressive political developments in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere in South America delivered a temporary setback to the passage of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement, U.S. imperialism sees CAFTA as a key victory in its ongoing campaign to impose neo-liberal economic order and rightwing political hegemony in the region. CAFTA’s adoption will likely put FTAA, a hemispheric neo-liberal trade agreement, back on the agenda.

The struggle against CAFTA continues despite its passage here in the U.S. The people of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic have caused their countries to delay approval of the agreement. The opposition is challenging the legality of CAFTAs approval in El Salvador. And the struggle continues right here in the U.S. The challenge is before labor and peoples movements: to defeat NAFTA, CAFTA and FTAA and establish a new era of fair trade and real cooperation between all the people of the hemisphere for lasting prosperity, equality and peace.


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