Showdown against the cafta free trade agreement

Costa Rica: Ticos rings for your welfare state

In Central American Costa Rica, the showdown conveys the ratification of the CAFTA DR Treaty (Spanish TLC, Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) by Parliament. In the previously large Monday demo of the country, 100 put.000 Ticos (how the CostaRicans call themselves, the organizers even spoke of 200.000) On 26.02. the traffic at the center of the city of San Jose Lahm.

Showdown against the CAFTA free trade agreement

The 100.000-Ticos train from a bird’s eye view. Photo: Grette Montero

From the whole republic they were traveling with buses, tens of thousands of farmers, served the public service, environmental protection, women’s groups, Indigenas, whole parishes and many others. The movement against the CAFTA free trade agreement with the US is colorful and varied in Costa Rica. It is important to all representatives of the "National Front against Cafta" to emphasize again and again that their protests are peaceful.

Peaceful protest

And it remained peaceful at the day of action last Monday. Even if the mood has been tensionable in the days before the demonstration. Thus, the round email, broadcast on behalf of an employee of the ruling party PLN (Partido Liberacion Nacional, Right Social Democrats) circulated, in which it is called that the deputies of opposition parties PAC (Partido Accion Ciudadana, Center Links) and Frente Amplio ( left reformist) supposedly understood to smuggle weapons in Parliament.

Even the speakers of the alternative movement of the Schuler and Students (MEA) in Costa Rica see themselves as a victim "ideological-verbal violence", which reminds the worst dictatorship in Latin America. In December, MEA had organized a well-visited anti-CAFTA Congrb. From the government camp, the organizers were then intended to plan the use of violence for the upcoming protest march. A list of names, addresses and schools of many participants then circulated on the Internet with the invitation to parents, teachers and priests to deal with their "right" education.

On the protest march on 26.02. But then the Schuler then made an important contingent.

On this demo we see a lot of schools of secondary education. That’s important, because we want to make the rulers clear that we are here that we are someone and that we also fight and do not let us therapy. We always call for peaceful actions, we face this myth that the march is allegedly violent. Here you can see how it really is: people are peaceful, they sing, they dance.

Esteban Camacho, MEA speaker

Showdown against the CAFTA free trade agreement

Photo: Torge Loding

Criticism of media

Above all, the CAFTA opponents want to get obedient. Since the last government introduced the contract, there are considerable criticism of the profit. Costarican farmers fearful consequences as in Mexico, where 13 years ago the similar NAFTA Agreement came into force. In Mexico, the market was first flooded by billigmais imports. Today, after there is hardly any indigenous agricultural production, demonstrating masses in hunger marches against the price explosion for ImportMais. According to the critics of the CAFTA, the concept of a welfare state in Costa Rica is handled final. Rough cores could control the control over the public sectors today telecommunications, electricity, water and social security. And environmental protectioners see nature threatened by the agreement.

Although CAFTA does not prescribe the privatization of water and natural resources, it opens the ture for it. CAFTA exposes national environmental laws, by subjecting national nature conservation legislation to the logic of the free market.

Environmental activist and songwriter Esteban Monde.

While the parliaments of all other CAFTA countries have already ratified the contract, the public resistance in Costa Rica is so strong that the coordination has been zoomed out so far. That’s probably because people to lose more in this country. In Nicaragua, Telekom and Energy suppliers have been privatized for years. The people there are grief with high telephone prices and frequent electricity failure. In contrast, Costa Rica has an exemplary telephone network and is true of the world’s lowest domestic fees. A mobile phone conversation costs 30 colones per minute – less than half a euro cent.

Showdown against the CAFTA free trade agreement

Utica cow is unemployed by US milk imports. Photo: Torge Loding

No dialogue

Many Costaricaners are extrapolated because they can not debate their mutual in the mass media nor with the Government of Prasident Oscar Arias. The Social Democrat and Peace Nobel Peabrush Talking Much of Dialogue, but he wants to let CAFTA as soon as possible with a simple one-voting majority in parliament. There is nothing to negotiate.

On the demonstration on Monday, television teams had to be wearing angry insults, as they report on one side. The TV broadcaster Teletica then positioned his cameraming as a precaution only in helicopters and on the roof terrace in the ninth floor of a hotel.

Report to word, the CAFTA critics actually only in the uniradienna stations Radio U and the TV channel 15. Therefore, you take the initiative to push anti-CAFTA blogs like mushrooms from the ground. Creative protest films are available at YouTube and since by last week you will find alternative video messages mentioned there "La Otra Cara" The other face. The Monday demo was accompanied by a nameless but professionally made radio program. Not only on the internet was to horns, but also without permission on a shortwave frequency throughout San Jose.

For ex-prasidental workers and opposition drivers Otton Solis from the center-left party of burger action (PAC) plays the demonstration an important role:

One has taken people the possibility to dialogue. The new Prasident has already rejected any discussion about CAFTA during his election campaign. The mass media refuse to report on the doubts we have, and even in parliament was prevented the debate. That’s why so many people now use this channel of the democratic community expenditure: the demonstration. It reminds me of the Marche for Burger Rights of Martin Luther King in the USA.

Otton Solis (PAC)

How to?

But how much? Cafta polarizes certainly beyond past week. In February, for the first time, Catholic winners have given the site the site of the CAFTA opponents. In two different explanations, the priests of the diozeses Alajuela and Tilaran with the protests. This was followed by an appeal of the Okumen America’s okumenic movement facing against the Agreement and Neoliberalism. The Catholic Priest of Ronal Vargas Araya from Guanasta – already several times the government tried to make the miscarriage of the liberation theology by law by law – with other Catholics of the opinion, a folk decision over the 3.500 pages Strong contract CAFTA-DR is the probate fund to decide on the original price of the country.

More or less radical left and trade unionists rather rather on a nationwide strike.

Protestations have become an important factor in democracy in Costa Rica. We call it the referendum of the strain. Now have to follow further actions. A possibility is the general strike. We have to discuss that now. I know that the colleagues of Telekom and Electric Statements (ICE) have already opted for such a strike.

Albino Vargas, chairman of the union of public service anep

Model is the movement against the act known as "Combo" Telekomprivatization in 2000. According to mass demos, blockages and striving bays, the government pulled the law adopted.

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