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LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development : Resistance & Tactics

UCSC Students Oppose CAFTA!

UCSC students are planning a week of action to co-incide with the Global Week of Action for economic justice. There will be five days of events to educate and activate students around the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)
UC Santa Cruz student group Comercio Justo is sponsering a week of events to educate and activate students around the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

CAFTA will impose many of the same trade rules to six countries in Central America and the Domincan Republic that NAFTA imposed on Mexico. Many of those rules will be beefed up or expanded, leading activits to call CAFTA "NAFTA on steroids." Particularly of concern are CAFTA's implications for rural farmers, indigenous peoples, intelectual property rights, environmental degradation(especially in senstive rainforest areas), privitization of public services, increased corporate power and threats to national sovereignty.

CAFTA will likely expand migration of rural farmers to urban areas in search of wage labor because they can not compete with subsidized US crops. CAFTA does not include sufficient labor or enviornmental standards, laying the groundwork for sweatshops and deforestation to ensue. Like countless other free trade agreements, CAFTA will open the doors to transnational corporations ready to buy up public service infrastructures like water, electricity, health care, education and communication. This results in higher prices of services, meaning that already vulnerable populations will be denied access to services without the means to purchase them. Corporations would be granted access to legal processes that allow them to sue governments over laws that impede their ability to profit, even in the future. These provisions under NAFTA allowed the Canadian corporation, Methanex, to sue the US government for almost a billion dollars over a California law that banned their chemical products from being added to gasoline because the chemicals were polluting groundwater, rendering it useless and causing cancer in Californians. CAFTA will also legalize expanded patent rights which delays the availability of generic drugs that can prevent death from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, maleria and typhoid fever. Additionally, Americans have lost over a million jobs since the passage of NAFTA. These types of Free Trade Agreements are bad for the people and great for corporate powers.

Thousands have protested this trade agreement in Central America and opposition is building in the US. We can win this fight, many believe that the Bush Adminstration does not have enough votes in the House to pass it, but we want to make sure. The week of action schedule is as follows:

Monday: Lecture about CAFTA and ways to get active with Jesse Swanhuyser of CA Fair Trade Coalition and Liza Grandia of Global Exchange Classroom Unit 2 at 7 pm

Tuesday: film viewing "coffee with a taste of the moon" about the Fair Trade movement in Nicaragua 8 pm College Nine and College Ten Community Room

Wednesday: Art and Activism, Prof Jennifer Gonzalez of the History of Art and Visual Culture Department will give a slide show of political art to be followed by an open space for art creation, Namaste Lounge, College Nine and College Ten, 7:30 pm

Thursday: no event, we support the AFSCME strike. Join us at the base of campus and support campus service workers

Friday: Rally at the Bay Tree Bookstore 12 noon We will make some noise, walk out of our classes, hear speakers, dance, and CALL on our CA REPRESENTATIVES to OPPOSE CAFTA!

For more information, questions or disability related needs please email aleahann (at) ucsc.edu
 
 


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