Wednesday, July 27

Readers Comments on CAFTA

Aaron, a reader, posted some comments I found compelling. Like he said, unfortunately, legislations can be horribly long-winded and difficult to understand for someone without a legal background, as myself.

Are there any lawyers among my readers who would respond or comment on CAFTA and clarify?

See my comments on your earlier post. CAFTA is not so much about reducing tariffs as it is about corporate welfare. As a conservative, I assume you are against welfare.

If you are a free trader, then you really should be concerned with CAFTA, which has all sorts of protectionist provisions woven in. Further, as a Latino, you should be concerned about how NAFTA has inflicted severe hardships on Mexico, which has seen poverty rates grow from 43% just prior to NAFTA to 70% today. This in turn has led illegal immigration from Mexico to skyrocket since the enactment of NAFTA.

The impact on Central Americans will be even worse (unless, of course, you are a lucky member of the incestuous business elites which have always worked to maintain strict class barriers). Indigenous communities in Guatemala (which constitute nearly 60% of the population) are particularly vulnerable since they traditionally have relied on subsistence agriculture as a way of life. Over millennia, the Maya have carefully crafted strains of corn that prosper in steep rocky highland soils unsuitable for growing other crops. Subsidized US corn will decimate these communities (as it did in Mexico after NAFTA), leading to increased immigration to the US.

Do not take CAFTA on its face as a piece of free trade legislation, as it is being marketed. As you become more educated about the actual contents of these 2,200 pages of legalese codifying corporate protectionism, I think your conservative principles will lead you to rethink your position. (question: does it take 2,200 pages just to reduce tariffs?? - that in itself should at least give pause)