29 March 2011
the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement;
Ask Obama to keep his promise
Lenten greetings from
CPT Colombia. As we enter this
season approaching the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, we want to make sure
you are aware of two special opportunities for your faith community in the
closely with the Latin American Working Group (LAWG) and encourages its
supporters to sign the following LAWG petition.
Momentum is building fast in Washington to approve the Free
Trade Agreement with Colombia.
We cannot let this unfair agreement move forward. President Obama must not consider it
until there are major improvements in human rights and labor conditions in
A fair and
humane trade agreement cannot be implemented in an environment in which union
leaders are assassinated, the land rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian
communities and small-scale farmers are consistently undermined, and millions
of people have been violently robbed of their homes.
Colombia is still the most dangerous country in the world to
be a trade unionist. Colombian
labor law does not respect even minimum international labor standards, and the
laws that are in place are not effectively enforced. When President Obama spoke during his campaign in 2008, he
promised to not support a free trade agreement with Colombia until conditions
improved. They have not.
There were 49 trade unionists killed the year he made his
promise and 51 killed in 2010. Now
we must hold him to his word.
Colombia now endures the largest displacement crisis in the
world, even greater than that of Sudan, with 5.2 million people living in
desperate conditions after being violently evicted from their lands. This agreement would encourage more
large-scale agricultural, mining and other resource extraction projects that
would push many Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities off their ancestral
lands and into greater poverty. As
for Colombia’s small-scale farmers still living on their lands, experience with
similar agreements such as NAFTA has taught us that the unjust agricultural
provisions of this trade agreement will make it even harder for these already
struggling families to produce enough to survive.
Given the new makeup of Congress, if this agreement is
considered, it will be a tough fight to keep it from passing. So we need to stop it in its tracks.
And we need to do it now. Act
today and sign this petition to ask President Obama to say no to the Free Trade
Agreement with Colombia!!