Stop CAFTA

Continuing the fight against the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement

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Stop CAFTA 2008 report: “DR-CAFTA: Effects and Alternatives”

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

NEW! Ahora el informe esta aqui en español: dr-cafta-efectos-y-alternativas-final

download “DR-CAFTA: Effects and Alternatives”
The Stop CAFTA Coalition’s Third Annual Monitoring Report

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La Coalición “¡No al TLC!” emite su informe sobre tres años del fracasado acuerdo DR-CAFTA

February 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Comunicado de Prensa
12 de febrero, 2009

Los grupos que se opusieron al acuerdo con Centroamérica piensan hacer un llamado por una rescisión bajo la administración de Obama

Se puede bajar el informe aqui

Contacto: Katherine Hoyt (619) 423-2909 (en Estados Unidos)

Los miembros de la Coalición “¡No al TLC!”, junto con aliados en Centroamérica y la República Dominicana, han compilado un informe que relata las tendencias y los impactos de los primeros tres años del Tratado de Libre Comercio entre los Estados Unidos y Centroamérica y la República Dominicana, conocido por sus siglas en inglés DR-CAFTA. El informe, titulado “Tres Años: Analizando el impacto de CAFTA,” es el tercero en una serie de informes emitidos por la Coalición “¡No al TLC!”; el primero fue publicado en septiembre del 2006 y el segundo en septiembre del 2007. Los tres informes se pueden encontrar en www.stopcafta.org.

“Nosotros creemos que los resultados del TLC demuestran el fracaso del comercio libre y justifican una ruptura definitiva con ese modelo por la nueva administración de Obama,” dijo Burke Stansbury del Comité en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de El Salvador (CISPES), un miembro de la Coalición. “El Congreso, con mayoríademócrata, no debe tan solo rechazar el acuerdo de libre comercio con Colombia, sino que el partido en el poder debe tomar esta oportunidad para introducir una nueva política comercial basado en los derechos humanos y la sostenibilidad económica, social y ambiental.”

Según Elliott Jones de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala en los Estados Unidos, y un redactor de esta publicación, “Los artículos incluidos en el informe muestran que los impactos negativos de CAFTA en estos países no son solamente problemas del desarrollo ni los problemas inevitables asociados con alterar el sistema económico de un país; son fallas fundamentales en la teoría económica de CAFTA y la situación no va a mejorar.”

El acuerdo está todavía nuevo en varios de los países firmantes, pero algunas tendencias previstas o indicadas durante el proceso de monitoreo o han continuado o se han exacerbado. Patrones de creciente desigualdad y continuada pobreza adentro de los países firmantes se han hecho más extremos, en contraste con las promesas de los que apoyaban la aprobación del acuerdo. Según Katherine Hoyt de la Red de Solidaridad con Nicaragua (Nicaragua Network), “Si no hay un cambio en el modelo económico o una revisión de la infraestructura de la región, las oportunidades de empleo continuarán escasas, los precios de los productos agrícolas seguirán cayendo, los pobres se harán más pobres, y la migración se aumentará.”

Con ese propósito, el informe también ilumina a otros acuerdos comerciales, existentes o en formulación, que incluyen a Centroamérica y que presentan una alternativa al modelo de CAFTA. El ALBA es un acuerdo comercial cooperativo que enfoca sobre el desarrollo y políticas que son mutuamente benéficas, evitando las falsas promesas del neoliberalismo. El Acuerdo de Asociación con la Unión Europea muestra menos promesa, pero por lo menos permite un poco de cooperación entre los países centroamericanos afectados, e incluye clausulas relacionadas con la cooperación y la sostenibilidad, que hacen falta por completa en CAFTA.

Concluye el informe con un “Compromiso por la Justicia Comercial” redactado por la Coalición que hace un llamado por, entre otras cosas: la participación democrática y transparencia durante las negociaciones comerciales; disposiciones que protegen la vida digna de los pequeños productores agrícolas, las comunidades indígenas, y las mujeres; fortalecimiento de las clausulas sobre derechos laborales y normas ambientales; disposiciones que permiten la cancelación de deudas; y garantías que los servicios públicos como la salud, la educación, y el agua potable se mantienen en manos del pueblo y accesibles a las comunidades pobres.

Según Jennifer DeLury Ciplet de la Red en Solidaridad con el Pueblo de Guatemala (NISGUA), “La Coalición trabajará con nuestros aliados en Centroamérica para continuar desafiando la privatización, los mega-proyectos, y las otras políticas desarrollistas asociadas con CAFTA, con la esperanza al final de empujar a la Administración Obama a rescindir este acuerdo fracasado y desarrollar una alternativa”.

Puede bajar el informe completo en este link

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Stop CAFTA Coalition Releases Report on Three Years of Failed Trade Deal

December 4th, 2008 · No Comments

Groups Who Opposed Central America Agreement Plan to Call for Suspension under Obama Administration

DECEMBER 4, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Katherine Hoyt, Nicaragua Network, (619) 423-2909

WASHINGTON, December 4. Members of the Stop CAFTA Coalition, along with allies in Central America and the Dominican Republic, have compiled a report that describes the trends and impacts of the first three years of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). The report, titled “DR-CAFTA: Effects and Alternatives” is the third in a series of reports by the Stop CAFTA Coalition; the first was published in September 2006 and the second in September 2007. The latest report can be downloaded directly here. All three reports can be found at www.stopcafta.org.

“We believe that the results of CAFTA demonstrate the failure of ‘free’ trade and justify a definitive split with this model by the incoming Obama Administration,” said Burke Stansbury of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), a member of the coalition. “Not only should the Democratic Congress reject pending agreements such as the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, but the party in power should take this opportunity to introduce a new trade policy based on human rights, and economic, social and environmental sustainability.”

According to Elliott Jones at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, an editor of the report, “The articles included in the report show that the negative impacts of CAFTA in these countries are not simply ‘growing pains,’ or the inevitable transitional problems associated with altering a country’s economic system; they are fundamental flaws in the economic theory that drives CAFTA and will likely not improve.”

The agreement is still new in many of the signatory countries, but certain trends which have emerged throughout the monitoring process have either continued or been exacerbated. Patterns of growing inequality and ongoing poverty within the signatory countries have only become more extreme, contrary to the promises of supporters of the agreement. According to Katherine Hoyt of the Nicaragua Network, “unless there is a significant shift in the economic model, employment opportunities will continue to be scarce, agricultural prices will continue to fall, the poor will become poorer, and immigration will increase.”

The report also illuminates other trade agreements, either proposed or already in effect that relate to Central America and provide possible alternatives to CAFTA’s model. ALBA is a cooperative trade agreement that focuses on development and mutually beneficial policies, eschewing the false promises of neoliberalism. The Association Agreement with the European Union shows less promise, but allows for a semblance of cooperation among the Central American countries it affects, and includes clauses relating to cooperation and sustainability, which are missing entirely from CAFTA.

The report concludes with a “Pledge for Trade Justice” developed by the coalition which calls for, among other things: democratic participation and transparency during trade negotiations; provisions that work to protect the dignified lives of small farmers, indigenous communities, and women; strengthened core labor and environmental standards; provisions permitting debt cancellation; and a guarantee that public services like health care, education and potable water will remain public and accessible to poor communities.

According to Jennifer DeLury Ciplet of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), “The coalition will work with our partners in Central America to continue challenging privatization, mega-projects, and other devastating policies associated with CAFTA, with the hope of ultimately pushing the Obama Administration to suspend this failed agreement and bring about an alternative.”

Download the full report at http://www.cispes.org/documents/DR-CAFTA_Effects_and_Alternatives.pdf or go to www.stopcafta.org

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PPP interactive map

October 16th, 2008 · No Comments

Check out this interaction map of Plan Puebla Panama mega-projects and other CAFTA-related programs in Central America right now.

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Call for Papers, 3rd CAFTA Monitoring Report

March 26th, 2008 · No Comments

We are looking to produce a Third DR-CAFTA Monitoring Report this year, and
that means we are calling for chapter submissions. If you or one of your
counterparts in Central America would like to write a chapter for the
Monitoring Report, please let us know. We would be thrilled to have your or
their collaboration!
[Read more →]

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Download Report “DR-CAFTA Year Two: Trends and Impacts”

February 28th, 2008 · No Comments

you can download the 2nd Stop CAFTA Coalition Report “DR-CAFTA Year Two: Trends and Impacts” here
or here in Spanish

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U.S. Delegation to present CAFTA monitoring report in Costa Rica

February 28th, 2008 · No Comments

U.S. Delegation to present CAFTA monitoring report in Costa Rica

** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **

September 27, 2007

Stop CAFTA Coalition: www.stopcafta.org and http://lasolidarity.org/CAFTA_report

Contacts: Katherine Hoyt at 011 506 864-3449 in Costa Rica and Burke Stansbury in the US at burke@cispes.org or 718 832-9399 to set up interviews in Costa Rica.

The Stop CAFTA Coalition announces the release of DR-CAFTA Year Two: Trends and Impacts, its second report on the effects of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) trade agreement on the majority of people in the region. Working with allies in Central America and the Dominican Republic, the report finds that “patterns of growing inequality and ongoing poverty within the signing countries have taken an upward tick, in spite of predictions to the contrary prior to the agreement’s passage.” The Coalition worked to prevent the passage of the agreement in the U.S. Congress, though ultimately CAFTA passed by 2 votes in the House of Representatives. Since implementation the Coalition has monitored the impact of DR-CAFTA in the countries in which it has been implemented. The Coalition will continue to monitor and report on the effects of the agreement.

On October 7, 2007 the citizens of Costa Rica will participate in an historic referendum to determine whether or not the country joins the DR-CAFTA. To support the democratic effort in Costa Rica the Coalition is sending a delegation of representatives from U.S. based organizations to Costa Rica to present findings on the effects of DR-CAFTA in other countries and to monitor the actual referendum process. The delegation will meet with organizations and individuals from various sectors involved in the referendum process and will have a presence as observers during the referendum to help ensure that the vote is fair and free of fraud.

Members of the US-based Stop CAFTA Coalition stand in solidarity with the people of Costa Rica who choose a more just and equitable future, rather than one dominated by neo-liberal policies that lead to increased poverty.

A successful vote against DR-CAFTA on October 7 would mark a turning point in the struggle to offer an alternative trade agenda to that being pushed by the US government, which places profit above self-determination and the needs of people. The documented effects of the “free” trade policies have led to a reassessment by the U.S. Congress about the nature of trade agreements. If Costa Ricans say “No” to the DR-CAFTA it will strengthen and support other efforts in the region to roll back the agreement, as well as efforts in the U.S. to replace failed policies with a trade policy that respects workers’ rights, cultural traditions, food sovereignty and the environment.

To download the Monitoring report (in Spanish and English), please go to http://lasolidarity.org/CAFTA_report. For more information on the referendum in Costa Rica go to http://www.bilaterals.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=13

****

** Comunicado de Prensa**

27 septiembre 2007

Delegación EE.UU. a presentar informe en Costa Rica sobre TLC

Coalición “¡No al TLC!”: www.stopcafta.org o www.lasolidarity.org/CAFTA_report

Contactar: Dra. Katherine Hoyt 011 506 864-3449 en Costa Rica y Burke Stansbury en los EE.UU. a burke@cispes.org o 718 832 9399 para arreglar entrevistas en Costa Rica.

La Coalición “¡No al TLC!” emitirá Dos Años del TLC con Estados Unidos: Tendencias e Impactos, el segundo informe de la Coalición sobre el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre los Estados Unidos, Centro América y la República Dominicana (DR-CAFTA.) Basado en consultas con grupos aliados en Centro América y la República Dominicana, el informe revela “padrones de creciente desigualdad y pobreza adentro de los países participantes, a pesar de predicciones al contrario antes de que el acuerdo fuera aprobado.” La Coalición seguirá su monitoreo y emitirá informes en los siguientes años sobre los efectos del TLC. La Coalición trabajó para prevenir la aprobación del acuerdo por el Congreso EE.UU., aunque al final el TLC fue aprobado por dos votos en la Cámara de Representantes. Desde su entrada en fuerza, la Coalición ha monitoreado el impacto del TLC en los países que lo han implementado.

El día 7 de octubre del 2007, los ciudadanos de Costa Rica participarán en un referendo histórico para decidir si su país participará o no en el DR-CAFTA. Para apoyar el esfuerzo democrático y patriótico en Costa Rica, la Coalición está enviando una delegación de representantes de organizaciones estadounidenses a Costa Rica para presentar los resultados de su informe sobre los efectos del TLC sobre los países afiliados al Tratado y para monitorear el proceso del referendo. Los miembros de la delegación se reunirán con organizaciones e individuos de los varios sectores involucrados en el proceso del referendo y participarán como observadores durante el referendo para ayudar a asegurar que la votación es honesta y correcta.

Miembros de la Coalición “¡No al TLC!” (de los EE.UU.) están en solidaridad con el pueblo de Costa Rica que está escogiendo un futuro más justo y equitativo, en lugar de un futuro dominado por políticas neoliberales que llevan a mayor pobreza.

Un voto exitoso en contra del TLC el 7 de octubre marcará un punto decisivo en la lucha para ofrecer una agenda alternativa a aquella propiciada por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos, el cual pone las ganancias de las corporaciones antes de las necesidades de los pueblos y de la autodeterminación. Los bien documentados efectos de las políticas del libre comercio han llevado al Congreso norteamericano a una revaluación de la naturaleza de los acuerdos. Si los y las costarricenses dicen “no” al TLC, fortalecerá y apoyará a otros esfuerzos en la región centroamericana para revocar el acuerdo al igual que a los esfuerzos en los EE.UU. para reemplazar a las políticas fracasadas con una política de comercio que respeta a los derechos de los trabajadores, las tradiciones culturales, la soberanía alimentaria y el medio ambiente.

Para ver el informe de monitoreo, ver: www.lasolidarity.org/CAFTA_report o para mayor información sobre el referendo en Costa Rica ver http://www.bilaterals.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=13&lang=es

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Submissions for Stop CAFTA Monitoring Report- 2007

April 9th, 2007 · No Comments

From the Stop CAFTA Coalition:

In conjunction with our desire to continue to monitor the negative effects of DR-CAFTA on the signatory countries, the participating members of the Feb. Stop CAFTA Strategy Session decided to produce a second DR-CAFTA Monitoring Report. Given the time it takes to communicate with our Central American counterparts, and to produce a document of this depth and scale, we would like to start the process now. Therefore, we are putting a call out for submissions. If you or one of your counterparts in Central America would like to write a chapter for the Monitoring Report, please let us know. This year, we would like the Monitoring Report to focus on a variety of issues related to CAFTA including:

A chapter for each Central American signatory country including the Dominican Republic;
A chapter on immigration as a result of CAFTA and free trade policies;
A chapter covering the effects of CAFTA on small farmers in the US;
Optimistically a chapter on the mobilization of Costa Rica‚s civil society and subsequent defeat of the accord; and
A chapter on the European Union‚s attempt to forge a trade deal with Central American countries and its potential effects.
If you have any other suggestions for chapters, please send them along. In addition, the submissions should be no longer than four pages including footnotes. Submissions should be turned in no later than July 10. Please email Marty Jordan at mjordan@ghrc-usa.org if you or one of your counterparts is interested in making a submission for this year‚s Stop CAFTA Monitoring Report or if you have a question. To send an email to your counterpart about the Monitoring Report and their collaboration, please see the Spanish version of this email below.

Thanks for your collaboration and contribution,

Stop CAFTA Core Group

———————————————————————-

Estimados Compañeros,

En conjunto con nuestro deseo de seguir monitoreando los efectos negativos del tratado de libre comercio con los países centroamericanos y la Republica Dominicana (CAFTA por sus siglas en ingles), la Coalición alto al CAFTA ha decidido producir un segundo Informe sobre el TLC. Debido al tiempo que requiere para producir un documento de esta escala, complejidad y profundidad, nos gustaría empezar el proceso ahora. Por lo que, estamos aceptando artículos sobre los efectos del TLC a partir de hoy. Si su organización desea presentar un capítulo para dicho informe, por favor contáctenos. Este año, a la Coalición alto al CAFTA le gustaría enfocarse en varios temas relacionados al TLC incluyendo:

Un capítulo sobre los efectos negativos del TLC en los países firmantes;
Un capítulo sobre la migración como resultado del TLC y las políticas neoliberales;
Un capítulo sobre los efectos del TLC en el sector agrícola, especialmente en los pequeños productores estadounidenses;
Con optimismo, un capítulo sobre la movilización de la sociedad civil en Costa Rica y su rechazo del acuerdo; y
Un capítulo sobre el deseo de la Unión Europea en negociar un tratado de libre comercio con los países centroamericanos y los efectos negativos de ello.
Si usted tiene una o más sugerencias sobre temas a incluir en el informe, por favor comuníquese con nosotros. Además, los capítulos deben ser de un máximo de cuatro páginas incluyendo las notas al pie de página. La fecha límite para la presentación de su capítulo es el 10 de julio. Esperamos contar con su apoyo y cooperación con este importante proyecto.

Un abrazo solidario,

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Marches Decry One Year of CAFTA in El Salvador; Protestors in Costa Rica Oppose Ratification

March 24th, 2007 · No Comments

As marches in El Salvador today call attention to the negative effects of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), social organizations in Costa Rica struggle to prevent a similar sequence of events in their country. Tens of thousands of Costa Ricans participated Monday in a peaceful protest against the DR-CAFTA in the capital city of San José, with parallel marches taking place across the country.

Costa Rica is the only country signed on to the DR-CAFTA that has not yet ratified the agreement. A broad sector of civil society, gathered under the National Front of Support to the Struggle Against the FTA, calls for the legislature to drop the trade agreement for a future “forged on a development model that does honor to our best democratic, civil and pacifist traditions.”

Opponents of the DR-CAFTA—among them workers from the nationalized telecommunications and insurance agencies, representatives from the public universities, teachers, farmers, fishermen, and students—foresee serious negative impacts for Costa Rica’s economy and quality of life if the treaty were to become law.

In El Salvador, the first country to implement the DR-CAFTA on March 1, 2006, similar fears have become reality. Press reports from El Salvador show that between 2005 and 2006 El Salvador’s trade deficit increased by 24%. An estimated 93,000 jobs have been lost in the agricultural sector in the past year as farmers are unable to compete with heavily subsidized United States imports.

“While a flood of U.S. imports is devastating the agricultural sector, an estimated 60,000 families in the urban informal sector are being hit just as hard by intellectual protectionism ushered in by DR-CAFTA,” said Emily Carpenter of US-El Salvador Sister Cities.

Civil society organizations in Central America and the United States have pledged to continue monitoring the social and economic implications of the DR-CAFTA, as producers, vendors, and citizens struggle to cope with its effects. The Stop CAFTA Coalition, based in the United States, has released a detailed monitoring report of the DR-CAFTA’s first year, available at www.stopcafta.org, and plans to release a second monitoring report later this year.

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Stop CAFTA in Costa Rica!

March 23rd, 2007 · No Comments

In February, tens of thousands of Costa Ricans took to the streets in a demonstration to block ratification of the US-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and reject approval of implementation legislation demanded by the United States. Costa Rica is the only country included in CAFTA that has not yet ratified the agreement and a broad grassroots movement in the country is trying to make sure it stays that way. They need our support!

In 2004 the governments of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic signed a free trade agreement with the United States. CAFTA is part of the Bush administration’s strategy to bilaterally impose its free-trade regime, given a failure in multilateral forums such as the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The growing debate and pressure from the social and popular movements and the insistence of the Costa Rican president on the need for a fiscal pact to allow for redistribution of the supposed benefits of CAFTA as a prerequisite to its approval all contributed to delays in the process. Finally in October of 2005 the executive branch sent the text on to the congress for ratification.

The final push for CAFTA came from the current administration of President Oscar Arias who took office in the midst of a huge mobilization rejecting the results of an extremely close election. CAFTA is a vital issue for Arias and he is prepared to get it approved in any way possible. A measure to apply a “fast track” legislative procedure to CAFTA is currently up for approval, despite that the mechanism is being challenged in the Constitutional Court for violating legislative rules on how it was introduced and how it is used.

Meanwhile, the full legislature has been meeting twice a day, often until midnight, trying to accelerate the procedure and wear down representatives who bravely continue to oppose the agreement by calling for substantive debate—something that still has not taken place. The Arias administration is pressing for a CAFTA vote sometime between late March and May, when the Congress begins a round of regular hearings and the president’s office will have less influence on the agenda.

Meanwhile, there is a dangerous process of criminalization of social protest underway, including repression and intimidation of those who openly manifest doubts about the agreement. Recently propaganda has appeared that paints those who oppose the trade agreement as disguised terrorists and promises to apply “the full force of the law” against them.

The reality is quite different: opposition to CAFTA expresses a diversity and multiplicity of proposals and actions, which is one of its greatest strengths. This fight has been joined by peasant farmers, teachers, unions, cooperatives, businesses, and politicians, along with indigenous, environmentalist, student, academic, religious and women’s groups. Citizens have organized marches and protests, labor stoppages, highway blockades, educational outreach, picketing at state events, and meetings with legislators.

Meanwhile, blatant U.S. intervention and strong-arming of Costa Rica has continued ever since the country temporarily pulled out of CAFTA negotiations in late 2003. Most recently, U.S. Ambassador in Costa Rica Mark Langdale attempted to belittle anti-CAFTA protesters and insisted that the Costa Rican Assembly approve CAFTA, saying that “the only way [for Costa Rica] to permanently enter into the U.S. market is through a free trade agreement.” Langdale, whose comments came after a highly-publicized meeting with President Arias, also said in relation to CAFTA ratification in Costa Rica that “there is no other possibility for prosperity, in my opinion.”

The interests behind CAFTA are so powerful that the government will not give up on implementing it without enormous popular pressure. But the potential impact of the agreement is tremendous and as sectors realize what it implies they have no option other than to react. Today Costa Rica faces a historic moment—the neoliberal model is at stake, and at a breaking point in Costa Rica. International solidarity is very important for the struggle that the Costa Rican popular social movements are carrying on.

Take action now!

1) Write to Mark Langdale, the U.S. Ambassador in Costa Rica, at elo@usembassy.or.cr * and tell him that the protests in Costa Rica show that the people of Central America are coming to realize that CAFTA will only benefit the elites in their countries and in the United States. Tell him you agree and urge him to stop pressuring the Costa Rica Assembly to ratify CAFTA, and to stop directly intervening in Costa Rica’s internal political process. You can also send a fax to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica at 001 506 519-2305.*

2) Send messages to Oscar Arias, Costa Rica’s president. In addition to the need to dialogue with Costa Ricans opposed to the agreement, it is important to mention the irony of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate causing a social conflict so traumatic for the country. Write to info@casapres.go.cr.*

3) Organize a protest at the Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate near you, especially on dates when protests occur in Costa Rica. You can find a list of Costa Rica’s consulates in the U.S. at: http://www.costarica-embassy.org/consular/consulates/default.htm

(*PLEASE send any correspondence to redcnlcontratlc@racsa.co.cr and daisy@helpgoingsouth.org)

Information for this alert was taken from “Costa Rica: Why We Reject CAFTA” by Eva Carazo Vargas published by International Relations Center Americas Program: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4062. Also see www.stopcafta.org and www.helpgoingsouth.org

For more information about groups in the U.S. fighting CAFTA go to www.stopcafta.org

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