Fair Trade Activist Spotlight: Carlos Gomez

Chicago activist Carlos Gomez fights for human rights in Guatemala, so he worked hard to educate Chicago residents about how CAFTA would cause the rights abuses in Central America to increase. Use the form below to send a thank you to Carlos!

 

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Carlos Gomez lives in Chicago because he can no longer live in his native Guatemala, one of the countries included in the U.S-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). 

In the 1980’s, Carlos was a union organizer, for which he almost lost his life in 1993 when he was dragged from a bus by what appeared to be members of the Guatemalan army, shot and left for dead. Though he miraculously survived, Carlos was forced to seek asylum in the United States.

As the same ruling class that tried to have Carlos killed in Guatemala sought to benefit from the CAFTA-NAFTA expansion, Carlos worked to educate the community in Chicago about the potential negative impacts of the deal, particularly with regard to the damage to small farmers in the rural economy, the curtailed access to HIV-AIDS medicines, and the further privatization and deregulation of essential public services.

In June of 2005, as Chicago congressmen Danny Davis, Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez were being lobbied heavily by multinational corporations and pressured relentlessly by the Chicago Tribune to vote for CAFTA, Carlos helped to coordinate the visit of Guatemalan Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini to Chicago to give two huge masses at Spanish speaking Catholic Churches.  Bishop Ramazzini, the president of the Central American Conference of Catholic Bishops held a press conference to criticize CAFTA and told hundreds of Chicago residents about the fears of his parishioners in rural San Marcos province that CAFTA could exacerbate their conflict with the Canadian mining firm Glamis Gold, Inc.  All of the wavering urban Chicago congressmen eventually voted against CAFTA.

Carlos is the coordinator of the 12-year old Foundation for Human Rights in Guatemala, a group of volunteers who contribute their time and resources to monitor human rights in Guatemala.  Now, Carlos and the FHRG are working feverishly to help the victims of Hurricane Stan, which killed over 2000 people in Guatemala in early October.  The impoverished communities of Bishop Ramazzini’s San Marcos province were hit particularly hard by the storm, and Carlos is raising funds to send to the Bishop to use for direly needed medicine, water, food, blankets and tents for survivors. 

Carlos is also working to help make it easier for Guatemalan immigrants in the United States to send money back home to their devastated communities.  Please use the form below to contact Carlos.  He’ll let you know how you can help!  Be sure to thank him for all of his hard work against CAFTA; it was individuals like Carlos who made sure that the CAFTA fight took us one step closer to a fair and responsible trade policy that respects workers, human rights and the environment.


September 16, 2014

Subject:
Thank you, Carlos!





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Fair Trade Activist Spotlight: Carlos Gomez