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Globalization in Latin America
Free Trade Area of the Americas

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texts from the greenpepper magazine summer 02 | source:

Accompaniment in Colombia
While the people are drowning in misery due to the neoliberal politics, the resistance is growing provoking alarm for the global capital. In a consultative document from the US (Santa Fe 4), this situation was presented as a threat to its national security, and with this to world security; especially using the example of the growing mobilisation of indigenous Ecuadorians and Bolivians as a danger.


The great challenges, that the Colombian reality faces today, are marked by a systematic process of human rights violations. These constitute the basic background in which the work of defending human rights comes closer to the search processes of a political way out of the present internal social and armed conflict. In our view, one of the factors that determines the continuity and deepening of this human rights crisis mostly is the IMPUNITY.

Days of Continental Resistance against the FTAA
From October 27 to November 1, 2002 Quito- Ecuador

The continental networks and campaigns, social organizations of our countries that compromise the continental campaign of struggle against the FTAA make a call for all to join the resistance and struggle against the FTAA summit that will be in Quito from the 27th of October to November 1 this year.

The FTAA. The Conquest Continues
On the morning of January 1, 1994, the Mexican government woke to find that an indigenous people's army called the Zapatistas had taken over several states in southern Mexico, in defiance of Neo-liberalism and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). January 1 marked the day that NAFTA would be formally implemented. The Zapatistas' uprising was to say "ya basta," enough, to the devastating effects of neo-liberalism on indigenous people, peasants, the environment, and workers. NAFTA, to the Zapatistas, was a death warrant. Now, eight years later, all 34 nations in the Western Hemisphere, except Cuba, are engaged in negotiations to expand NAFTA to the entire Western Hemisphere.

GMO's, Agri-Business and the FTAA
Scrap the FTAA! Support sustainable, pro-farmer food systems that feed people, not corporations!
Expansion of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

The biotech industry and the governments of GMO producing countries (US, Canada and Argentina) plan to use the FTAA to force open markets for their unwanted GMO crops. The FTAA will be used to put regulatory policies on food and agriculture in the hands of the WTO and to prevent any country from invoking the precautionary principle to protect its citizens. The intentions were clearly spelled out in the FTAA's San Jose Ministerial Declaration of 1998, which states that regulations on food "will only be applied to achieve the appropriate level of protection for human, animal or plant life or health, will be based on scientific principles, and will not be maintained without sufficient evidence."

Peruvian Peasant Economies:
A Challenge to the FTAA

The FTAA's objective is that our countries be reduced to producers of primary materials to be processed by the Yankees, and that we give up being producers in order to resign ourselves to being consumers of the products of Yankee businesses. However in Cusco, Peru, the departmental federation of the peasants of Cusco (FDCC) considers that the small scale production encompassing 92% of the country's land can achieve profitability and competitiveness and become a source of progress which will contribute to the development of the internal market.

Development or neocolonialism?

Plan Puebla-Panamá (PPP) is an international megaproject: designed by the USA, mainly promoted by the new Mexican corporate government headed by Vicente Fox, and being applied for in the impoverished nine states of south-southwest Mexico (Puebla, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas) and in the neighbouring countries of Central America (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama).

The war on drugs in Bolivia
In December, 2001, Casimiro Huanca, Executive Secretary of one of the six federations of coca leaf growers ("cocaleros") in the Tropic of Cochabamba, was the head of a group demonstrating against the alternative development program imposed upon the region. A military unit burst in on the peaceful demonstration and several people were beaten. Minutes later, military forces identified the cocalero leader and executed him on the spot.

Plan Colombia. Military intervention at the hands of the FTAA
In April 2000, the FTAA supporters achieved the approval of an aid package called Plan Colombia. Initially proposed by the Colombian government, the plan was then ratified by the Clinton administration after prolonged lobbying by interested parties. It consists of more than a $2 billion package for the Colombian state and military with the principal goal of recovering the state's control over the country, while creating a safe playing field for investors. $1.3 billion is from the US, with an equitable amount from the European Community, showing that although the FTAA is an affair of the American continent, Europe's as well as Japan's economic interests have the same objectives in mind.

Indigenous peoples and the FTAA
An alternative summit, call for papers, panels and involvement Salle kondiarionk, Huron Reserve, Quebec City

The proposal to create the FTAA extends a process of imperial globalization that began in 1492 and continues yet. Once again the geopolitical map of the Americas is about to be redrawn in ways that violate the titles, treaties and basic human rights of the hemisphere's First Nations. The FTAA continues the genocidal tradition which began with the founding of New Spain, New England, New France, New Netherlands etc as jurisdictions based on the absorption of Indian lands, usually without Indian consent.

Innumerable examples of action and international support for peoples in conflict encourage confidence in the vital force of solidarity, of the sisterhood and brotherhood between equals in a world governed by incompetence and greed. The defeat of the Nazi regime in 40s Europe came from solidarity between peoples of the world; the internationalist resistance was present in pro-Franco Spain, in Central America, and in the south Latin-American cone. Today thousands of internationalists make the libertarian struggles of Palestine theirs, in Chiapas, they make the popular uprising theirs against the wild globalisation of capital, in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia... many more examples.

Corporation for community development Popayan, Cauca, Colombia, Latin América

In Colombia the struggle for opportunities, work, health, education and housing is permanent due to the inequality, the bad distribution of wealth and exploitation.

On behalf of 2500 families, we took the initiative and began a process of struggle, to demand our elementary rights, by direct occupation of privately owned terrain and various kinds of property of the state: areas that were not giving any service to the community. We have been living in 'houses' constructed of materials of plastic, wood and old cartons for over two and a half years . With the cold and the bad weather, the children are especially easy victims in these conditions of defenselessness. This is where the most elementary of human rights are violated.

Interview with Evo Morales
Cocaleros in parliament

Evo Morales Ayma, 43 years old, is president of the coca farmers' federation in Chapare and he's a symbol of the struggle against neoliberal politics in Bolivia and the host of the International People's Global Action conference in Cochabamba last year. In the past four years he was president of the political party MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) in parliament, and in the most recent elections on the 30th June, according to the last counting he received more than 21percent of the votes. As the second political force he might become the new president in Bolivia, seen as the final election is between the two strongest candidates, in this case Evo Morales and Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada of MNR (Nationalist Revolutionary Movement) who is slightly ahead of him.

universal drink, unrespected union rights

The receipe of Coca-Cola is one of the best kept secret in the food processing industry. The American multinational is very attached to the quality of its production everywhere it is produced. But the company does not seem to be that much preoccupied by the working social conditions in its factories and at its subcontractors. The trade unions of the various sites of production launched an international campaign to stop the suppression of their militants and to make Coca-Cola sign a draft agreement. This would guarantee the respect of core labour standards in all the factories working for the multinational. Numerous associations for the defense of social and economic rights have already mobilized in the U.S.A. and everywhere in the world for a very symbolic campaign, which should go on.

Nine reasons to oppose the FTAA
During the last three years, representatives from 34 countries have been working in secret on plans to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is another example of the free-market fundamentalism that has created a global race-to-the-bottom threatening the environment, families' livelihoods, human rights, and democracy. Once again, a sweeping "free trade" agreement is in the works that puts commercial interests above all other values.

How will the FTAA impact women?
According to a report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), despite overall economic growth in Latin America, rural poverty has grown 10 to 20% in the past three years. More than 90 million Latin American and Caribbean farmers live below the poverty line, while 47 million live in extreme poverty. The report notes that women are the sole heads of eight to ten million households in the region, two to three million women are employed as seasonal wage-laborers, while 30 to 40 million women are responsible for their household's farming activities and small rural industries.

The Embera Katio people fighting against the Urrá Dam Mega-Project
Embera Katío people from Alto Sinú

We are an ancient ethnic group composed at present of 2800 people. We live to the north of Colombia, in the State of Córdoba, municipality of Tierralta, between three important rivers called: Sinú (Kerado), Esmeralda (Kuranzado) and Verde (Iwagado). The land is a collective property, recognized constitutionally as Native Reserve; it means that we have the right to an extensive autonomy, and that our territory is inalienable and free of the tyranny of embargoes and prescriptions. However the Colombian government does not practice what it preaches.

Since the 1980s, Bolivia, like the rest of the Latin American continent, has been experiencing the implementation of the neo-liberal economic model. International financial institutions and large transnational corporations, concentrated in the most powerful countries of the world, seek to dominate the globe and exploit our natural resources to increase their profits.

The new Spanish colonisation
The collective memory of the Latin American people, reinforced in each country with a patriotic sense has seen published, all over the continent, a large number of stories and testimonies that describe the sagas of Simon Bolivar, Sucre or Martin's liberating army in order to be freed of the domination of the Spanish crown. Surprisingly, this historic conscience against colonialism, contrasts with the lack of information of all society of the new economic colonisation of the powerful Spanish economic groups.

Andean biopirates strike again!
Indigenous peoples' and farmers' organizations from the Andes and the Amazon gathered at the offices of the Ecological Forum in Lima, Peru on 28 June 2002 to formally denounce US patents on maca, the high-altitude Andean plant (of the Cruciferae [mustard] family) that has been grown for centuries by indigenous peoples in the Puna highlands of Peru, both as a staple food crop and for medicinal purposes. Today, maca-based products are commonly promoted as natural enhancers of sexual function and fertility, and demand for maca is growing in the US, Europe and Japan. While maca exports have the potential to create new markets and income for Peruvian farmers, recent US patents related to maca may actually foreclose opportunity for the true innovators of the Andean crop.

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