A year ago, President Bush signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Since then, the controversial plan has inspired protests across the U.S. and in Central America. And while past trade agreements have been ratified by Congress in less than two months, the Bush administration has delayed the vote on CAFTA multiple times, unable to rally the support needed for it to pass.
The latest vote is scheduled for this month, but CAFTA’s passage is by no means inevitable. Many Democrats and some Republicans, having learned from the fallout of NAFTA — for example, the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs — are expected to vote against it. They’re taking this stand because the agreement is weak on both labor and environmental standards, and because they are beginning to realize such treaties promote not free trade, but corporate trade.
The environmental movement has also learned from NAFTA. An impressive coalition of professional and grassroots organizations is fighting CAFTA on the basis that it “would allow foreign investors to challenge hard-won ... Read more