Prensa Latina, Cuba
Dominican Organizations Protest FTA
21 February 2005
Santo Domingo, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Sixty two Dominican organizations, integrated as Alternative Social Forum, will demand that the National Congress reject the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the United States, coordinators reported Monday.
The Alternative Social Forum convoked by the CMD (Dominican Medical College) included in its agenda topics on housing, unemployment, and the situation of health and education.
The new opposition alliance is beginning Monday its plan of demands to increase the assignment of state funds to social security, seeking improvement of the Dominican population’s living conditions.
The CMD, other unions of the health sector, FALPO (Popular Struggle Open Front), and FAPROUASD (Santo Domingo’s Autonomous University Teacher Federation) are among those in the group.
The forum also brings together the ADP (Dominican Teacher Association), Movement of Teachers without Classrooms, Popular Organization Group, CDH (Human Rights Committee), Construction Workers’ Union, Popular Unity Council, National Unified Transportation Workers’ Union and others.
The Alternative Social Forum is a space created at the request of the CMD, to defend the Dominican people’s right to health as a priority.
CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero said that as a result of neoliberal policies, most people are increasingly poorer, because 5.6 million Dominicans live on less than 60 pesos per month.
He denounced that patients in most public hospitals have to pay laboratory services, x rays, hospitalizations, and buy perishable materials and medicines when these services should be free.
The medical union leader said the situation will worsen with approval of FTA, because the unfair competition of US subsidized products will affect local productions and will cause serious damages to those who live in the farming sector.