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Contra el TLC - Against CAFTA

Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA)

In November 2003, the Bush Administration announced it would begin negotiations for a free trade agreement with Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Labor unions in the U.S. and the Andean region, along with many civil society groups oppose the proposed the so-called Andean Free Agreement (AFTA), charging that rules for the global economy should protect workers, not just employers and investors.

In March 2004, Colombian and Ecuadorian trade union leaders, along with US/LEAP, the AFL-CIO, Human Rights Watch and the International Labor Rights Fund, presented testimonies to USTR opposing these negotiations, among other things citing the failure of the Ecuadorian government to take steps on worker rights and the failure of the Colombian government to end near-total impunity with respect to hundreds of murders of trade unionists. US/LEAP has worked to help make violence against trade unionists in Colombia and impunity an issue in the trade talks.

The first round of negotiations took place in Cartagena, Colombia on May 18-19, 2004. Reports from the ground indicated that 500,000 people participated in a national strike on privatization and AFTA and 80,000 people took to the streets in several cities throughout Colombia to protest the AFTA negotiations, some of which were met with violent repression from the Colombian police.

The second round of negotiations took place June 14-18, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia. Local activists organized a peaceful demonstration outside the negotiations, reports of which are briefly included in newspaper articles included below from both Andean and U.S. press. Subsequent negotiations were held in Ecuador, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Negotiators originally planned to finish agreement talks by February 2005 but negotiations are taking longer than expected and are continuing.

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