Prensa Latina, 23/2/2005
Central American Ombudsmen Propose Referendum to FTA
Guatemala, Feb 23 (Prensa Latina) Central American Ombudsmen will end a three-day meeting in Guatemala urging regional governments to put to popular referendum the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.
Attorneys are participating in the 19th Meeting of the Central American Ombudsman Council on Human Rights in Antigua, Guatemala. Delegates expressed their wish to assume common stances regarding issues such as the trade agreements with Washington, the problem of juvenile gangs, immigration and social crisis.
Costa Rican Ombudsman José Manuel Echandi said regional governments should submit the FTA with the US to the people’s vote in each country.
Echandi suggested democracies should transform from representative to participative, referring to people’s demands to governments in the region.
"We are concerned that the FTA establishes conditions in the country that can affect the national sovereignty," Guatemalan Ombudsman Sergio Morales said. "The meeting aims to reach a consensus regarding the FTA," he added.
Participants in the meeting agreed to make an alliance between the Central American Ombudsman Council and the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA).