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DAVIS ENTERPRISE: Nix a trade deal with Colombia

May 13th, 2011

To the editor:

While all the news out of Washington is about the debt ceiling and spending cuts, three nefarious trade deals are winding their way toward passage. The Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements would give corporate profits a small boost but would have disastrous impacts on the working class and the environment both at home and abroad.

The pending deal with Colombia is the most problematic, given that the country is the world’s leader in labor murders and cocaine production.

Just last year, 51 unionized workers were murdered in Colombia. Passing this trade deal sends the message that these human rights violations are inconsequential. The agreement also will exacerbate the poverty of Colombia’s small farmers. Studies suggest that 400,000 farmers will lose their livelihoods, unable to compete with subsidized U.S. grain imports. Many likely will join the ranks of Colombia’s 5 million internally displaced or turn to coca production — the raw material for cocaine.

Any trade deal that turns a blind eye toward the mass murder of workers and spurs cocaine production should be a non-starter in Washington.

Moravia de la O
Witness for Peace