Don’t Let NAFTA-Expansion Fuel the Drug War!
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The Bush administration is currently negotiating with the Andean countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to try to finalize the NAFTA-CAFTA expansion into South America, the Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).
But in December, Peru broke ranks with its neighbors Colombia and Ecuador—who had refused to accept extreme U.S. proposals on drug patents and agriculture—and finished negotiations on a U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement that could end up as the template for AFTA. While the full text is not yet public, it is widely expected that Peru gave up on trying to change the worst parts of the NAFTA-CAFTA model and took what the U.S. offered, which experts expect would push small farmers towards growing coca for the drug trade or joining armed groups if applied in the Andean region as a whole. The result could bolster the international drug trade and further destabilize the region, threatening our national security.
The administration and Republican congressional leaders are ignoring pleas from the Andean countries to extend the Andean Trade Preferences and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and to allow those countries to protect the local markets for corn, rice, and beans their small farmers depend on. Deprived of other outlets to make a living, many farmers will see no other choice but to grow coca or opium poppies, work for narco-traffickers, or in the case of Colombia, join clashing guerrilla and paramilitary armies.
While Peru appears to have caved to U.S. demands, there is still time to stop the same thing from happening to Colombia and Ecuador, so make a call today!
When you reach your representative's office, ask to speak to the person who handles trade issues. Tell them:
1) You are calling about AFTA, the NAFTA-CAFTA expansion to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
2) You understand that if the NAFTA model is extended to these countries that it will increase drug production and violence there by taking away the livelihoods of small farmers, and that you are concerned about the potential impacts of this in your community. Want more info about AFTA?
3) You don’t want have to call the office again after AFTA has already been signed to ask your congressperson to oppose another trade deal. Fix it now!
After you've called, tell us what they said! Use the form below to let us know what the office tells you. This is critical to our ability to hold Congress accountable.