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SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS: No deal on trade deal

May 21st, 2011

Re: “Move swiftly on trade deals” (Editorial, May 11):

The nefarious 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 U.S. deal with Colombia is the most problematic, given 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 will also 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 will likely 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.

Kelly Miller,
Witness for Peace,
Colombia research assistant,
Washington, D.C.

To read this letter to the editor in the San Antonio Express-News, click here.