MADRE Statements

Take Action: Congress Considers Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Posted on: Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keywords: Colombia, Latin America and the Caribbean, US Foreign Policy

Today, a congressional committee is holding a hearing on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. This FTA is moving towards a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives – but you can take action to make sure this does not happen.

The last time they attempted to push the Colombia FTA forward, we stood against it. We showed how this FTA would worsen poverty, fuel conflict, endanger labor rights, and more.

For more information on how you can take action via the Alliance for Global Justice, click here.

Congress Moves Toward Passing Colombia, Panama & S. Korea Free Trade Agreements

"And I'll also oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement if President Bush insists on sending it to Congress because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements. So you can trust me when I say that whatever trade deals we negotiate when I'm President will be good for American workers, and that they'll have strong labor and environmental protections that we'll enforce."
-Barak Obama (To the AFL-CIO, PA April 2, 2008)
This Thursday, March 17, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the first step in introducing it for a floor vote in the House. No matter how many times you've called your Representative on the Colombia FTA, it is vital that you do so once again.

While Republicans and Democrats are split over how the Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements should be passed (as a package or piece meal), Ways and Means Chairman Brady wants them all passed by July 1. Colombia's horrific human rights record and shameful treatment of union members and labor organizers make the idea of "rewarding" Colombia particularly outrageous. But all three FTAs are bad for workers here at home and bad for workers in Colombia, Panama and Korea. That means we have to act fast!

Over the last 25 years 2,857 labor leaders have been killed in Colombia. According to the Colombian National School Union (supported by the AFL-CIO) in 2010, 51 trade unionists were killed and 7 went missing (29 of which were teachers)! This trend has not changed since Santos took office. Just since the turn of the year, 4 unionists (3 teachers) have been killed already. Moreover, Colombia has the world's largest internally displaced population, with nearly 12% of the population being displaced. This has disproportionately impacted Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups.

So, What Can We Do?

Click here to find out. 

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Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
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