Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The White House Push For The CAFTA Mistake

NAFTA was supposed to hold great promises for the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Instead 900,000 textile jobs in America have been lost since the beginning of NAFTA. In Mexico, rather than the economy improving many wages actually fell, union organizing was suppressed, and due to dramatically increased pollution, higher rates of birth defects among infants and higher rates of hepatitis have been reported. In Canada, a huge increase in farm foreclosures has resulted from NAFTA as well as other job losses to this nation with a population smaller than the state of California.

From this trade mistake, it would only seem prudent to oppose a similar trade agreement with Central American states that the AFL-CIO says is a job loss agreement, will hurt smaller farms in the U.S., and could spell more problems for what little of the American textile industry remains. And in addition, the health, poverty, and financial problems aggravated in Mexico, only served to increase both legal and illegal emigration from Mexico as conditions have actually worsened there as a result of NAFTA. Yet the Bush White House is insisting that the NAFTA mistake be repeated and CAFTA be approved. The Senate may even vote this week.

NAFTA also increased rather than closed the trade deficit America has, and CAFTA will certainly do more of the same. And some absurd limitations on legal actions will allow some legal limitations on pollution or clean water controls by America. For example, a Canadian firm that produces a gasoline additive, MTBE is protected under the NAFTA international trade agreement and cannot be held responsible for damage to American water supplies by this harmful additive which has a history of leaking into many American city and town water supplies.

And CAFTA does nothing to provide any promise to South American workers whose labor laws do not meet international labor rights standards, to offer any improved working conditions, health threat or wage improvements. And with problems in the Central American coffee market which has hurt the local living standards, a new problem such as cheaply produced American wheat or corn could begin to flood the Central American markets and could only only worsen living conditions in the very nations that this trade agreement claims to benefit.

And environmentally sensitive areas of forestland could become more victimized by development. Rainforests and other wilderness areas in South America are environmentally important to world climate stability, and are homes to rare wildlife that is increasingly threatened. There are no sane reasons for CAFTA. Just like NAFTA, CAFTA is a huge international mistake that benefits a few corporations, and leaves many workers in the United States and Central America both hurting. And like NAFTA ,many Central American workers and their families will seek to emigate to America both legally and illegally as conditions worsen as a result of this bad trade agreement. This is hardly good for these workers and their families to have to flee their home country because conditions have become so bad.

All humans should be treated with dignity, and should be paid a fair wage. And a mother should be able to bear children without an increased likelyhood of birth defects. But like NAFTA, CAFTA promises nothing. America should learn from the NAFTA mistake and not repeat it with a CAFTA mistake. Compounding mistakes is no solution. And with Iraq and other Bush White House mistakes, the judgement of this administration on important matters should not be trusted.


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