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As Guatemala enters CAFTA, US coalition calls for a new trade model

Stop CAFTA Coalition

Press Release

As Guatemala Enters CAFTA, U.S. Coalition Calls for a New Trade Model

30 June 2006

WASHINGTON, June 30 /U.S. Newswire/ — As the Dominican Republic - Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is expected to be implemented tomorrow with Guatemala, a coalition of U.S. organizations denounces the Bush Administration’s strong arm tactics to force implementation and calls on Congressional candidates to promote positive trade agreements by taking the Pledge for Trade Justice.

"Unfortunately, politicians in Guatemala have followed the example of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, by allowing pressure from the U.S. administration and their business allies to override the best interests of their own people," said Andrew de Sousa of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala.

"The Central American people continue to remind their governments that the free trade agenda has failed them, and we will continue to remind our Congress of the same," said Tara Carr-Lemke of the Share Foundation.

The U.S. administration put increasing pressure on the Guatemalan government to rewrite laws before allowing the agreement to be implemented, including a visit by Ambassador Derham to the Guatemalan Congress. "Many of the demands being made, including further restrictions on access to affordable generic medicine, went above and beyond conditions laid out in the original agreement," said Carrie Stengel of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission.

Experts believe CAFTA will put Central American farmers at a huge disadvantage to heavily subsidized U.S. agricultural products. A wide coalition of U.S. groups have written a Pledge for Trade Justice and are now demanding candidates for upcoming November elections promise to uphold the Pledge if elected to office. A background on the Pledge can be found at:

"Through NAFTA and CAFTA, Congress has shown us that business as usual isn’t working for the people. We are asking them to take a new approach to trade negotiations that would put the people’s interests first, as outlined in the Pledge for Trade Justice," said Tom Ricker of the Quixote Center.

"We will continue to resist alongside the people of Central America in saying no to the implementation of CAFTA, and in calling for no more CAFTAs in the hemisphere or anywhere else," said Burke Stansbury of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.

Stop CAFTA Coalition:

 source: Stop CAFTA Coalition