Letter to Congress from a multitude of Colombian Organizations

Congresswoman NANCY PELOSI, Bogotà, April 19, 2007 Speaker of the House of Representatives Congressman CHARLES RANGEL, Chair, Ways and Means Committee Congressman SANDER LEVIN, Chair, Trade Subcommittee, Ways and Means RE: The Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United States should be rejected by the respective Congresses of both nations. Dear Members of Congress: The signatories of this letter are legitimate representatives of millions of workers, peasants and indigenous Colombian people. You should know that our points of view were not taken into account by the government of President Alvaro Uribe Vélez in the so called "negotiations" of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States. The Agreement was not negotiated with the support of opposition forces in the Colombian Congress. It is therefore false to claim that the FTA represents the viewpoint of the whole Colombian nation, and much less that its approval will lead to improved relations between the two countries. As we have explained in detail, our disagreement with the FTA is not over specific portions but with the entire construction of so-called "free trade" which results in the concentration of wealth in a few countries, and in a few individuals in each of those countries. That has been the global experience. Colombia has suffered under that model since 1990, a period during which there have been enormous losses in production, employment and income. The harmful effect of "free trade" is made worse in Colombia by the severe violence that the country has endured and still endures, a horror that has taken its heaviest toll on popular organizations. Thus, we call upon the Democratic Party to unequivocally reject the FTA between Colombia and the United States. A "no" vote makes clear that you will not allow an accord to be represented as positive when the agreement is flawed and regressive at its core and cannot be repaired by amendments read more