November 5, 2007
Dear Members of Congress:
As the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
comes up for a vote this week, please consider the widespread resistance to the
trade pact represented in this sign-on letter compiled over just a few days.
Our organizations and networks represent millions of people from diverse
sectors of society across the United
States. Your constituents are demanding that
you stop the Peru FTA.
Enough is Enough! No to False "Free Trade"! Yes to
Stop the Peru, Panama, Colombia
and South Korea
Free Trade Agreements
It is clear that only a few are reaping the
benefits of "free" trade agreements (FTAs). Over the past two decades FTAs have created a class of super-rich individuals
and extremely powerful corporations. They have disrupted the culture and
livelihoods of millions of people, forcing many to leave their homes, and
driven many into severe poverty.
On a daily basis, the vast majority of people
throughout the world are struggling to survive - to make a living from the
land, to earn a livable wage, to protect our health and environment, to assure
access to water, housing and basic services. The strategies used to deny us
these basic human rights are embedded in FTAs.
In fact, there is nothing free about FTAs.
Communities and nations are subjected to the will of
multi-national corporations, who sack our natural and human resources,
eliminate laws that make corporations accountable, and wrest authority from our
governments to provide basic services. The vision of George W. Bush and other
"free" traders is that private corporations own the seeds and the
food that they create, water and the infrastructure that carries it, medicines
and the hospitals that administer them. The ultimate goal is not to eliminate
poverty, and promote global prosperity and well-being, but to make every aspect
of our lives into a source of profit for corporations.
The North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), which many of us fought against in 1993, offers a clear example of the
destructive power of FTAs.
• When NAFTA took effect in 1994, the Mexican government eliminated price
controls to many farmers, while at the same time removed its tariffs on
imported corn. This forced Mexican farmers to compete on the global market with
giant agricultural corporations based in the U.S.
(which are the principal beneficiaries of current U.S. farm policy).
• Millions of Mexican farmers were displaced, forcing
them from the land and into low-wage sweatshops along the U.S.-Mexico border.
By the beginning of this decade, many of these plants closed, leaving hundreds
of thousands of people in the border region with a devastated economy and a
• Not surprisingly, migration to the United
States has skyrocketed in the past 10 years, yet the
response of the Bush administration and Congressional leaders in both major
parties is to militarize the border, expand the repressive authority of the
Homeland Security Administration and conduct a witch-hunt of immigrant workers
throughout the U.S.
Now, many of the same irresponsible political
leaders are pushing new FTAs with Peru,
Colombia, Panama and South Korea. On October 12, George
W. Bush declared: ''Now it is the time (sic) to move forward with these
pro-growth, pro-democracy agreements." Amazingly, however, as President
Bill Clinton did in 1993, Democratic leaders like Speaker of the House Nancy
Pelosi are promoting the trade agreements despite wide-spread
public opinion opposing them. In 2006, the Central American Free Trade
Agreement passed the U.S. Congress by just one vote. Instead of building
political momentum to stop these policies, Democratic leaders are siding with
Bush to turn back the clock.
Enough is Enough! We
cannot allow politicians to sell out our communities!
• We support trade policies that support human rights, democracy, indigenous
sovereignty, food sovereignty, environmental justice, economic justice and the
sustainability of the planet.
• We support trade policies that restrict the power of corporations and
strengthen the rights of workers and communities.
• We support efforts such as the Peoples Trade Agreement of Bolivia, which
promotes policies based on the concepts of "complementarity,
cooperation, solidarity, reciprocity, prosperity and the respect for the
sovereignty of each country".
• We recognize that communities throughout the world are facing imminent and
desperate circumstances. Therefore we cannot
compromise our principles. We commit to building a movement to
fundamentally alter trade and foreign policies of the U.S. government.
• We oppose the Free Trade Agreements between the United
States government and Peru,
Panama, Colombia and South Korea, and we urge
Congressional representatives to vote "NO".
This statement was endorsed
by the following organizations:
50 years is Enough Network
American Agricultural Movement
American Corn Growers Association
Association for Colombian Sovereignty,
California Dairy Campaign
California Farmers Union
Campaign for Labor Rights
Center of Concern
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin
Colombia Vive, Boston
Columban Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Office (USA)
Committee in Solidarity with the People
of El Salvador
Community Voices Heard
Direct Action for Rights and Equality (Providence, RI)
Family Farm Defenders
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (Toledo, OH)
Freedom Socialist Party
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (Los
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA
Holy Cross International Justice Office
Institute for Agriculture and Trade
International Labor Rights Forum
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Korean Americans for Fair Trade
Korean-Americans for Peace
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
Latin American Solidarity Committee of Buffalo, NY
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mexico-US Solidarity Network
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
of Latin American and Caribbean Communities
National Family Farm Coalition
National Network for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights (Oakland, CA)
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social
Nicaragua-U.S. Friendship Office
Portland Central America
Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
Quixote Center/Quest for Peace
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Justice and Peace Office
Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation
Justice Committee, Notre Dame, IN
Sisters of the Holy Name Justice
Southwest Workers Union (San Antonio, TX)
St. Peter's Housing Committee (San Francsico,
Student Trade Justice Campaign
United Church of Christ,
Justice and Witness Ministries
United Electrical Workers Union (UE)
United Students Against
Sweatshops (Washington DC)
US-El Salvador Sister Cities Network
Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Washington Office on Latin America
Witness for Peace
World Hunger Year (WHY)