Last week, the Colombian government sent an 80-member delegation to Capitol Hill as part of an intensive, last-ditch effort to secure our Congress' support for the stalled U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Today, Colombia's president arrives in Washington, DC to continue this expensive lobbying blitz with the message that all is well with human rights in Colombia.
We're not buying it, and we know you're not either, but we must keep the pressure on so that our representatives are not won over by false claims of soaring progress.
Call your member of Congress today and send them our own simple message: say NO to the U.S.-Colombia FTA until there is true progress on human rights!
To be connected to your representative's office, dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Recent trade agreements are often criticized for encouraging a "race to the bottom" that favors the rights of corporations over the rights of workers and small farmers at home and abroad. While we aren't trade experts, as human rights advocates, there are two main reasons we're opposing this agreement:
- Colombia is a deadly place to be a trade unionist. The killers are rarely brought to justice. Already this year, 41 trade unionists—more than were killed in all of 2007—have been killed for exercising their fundamental right to organize.
- Small farmers, internally displaced persons, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous peoples—the very people who have already suffered and lost so much in the conflict—would be harmed. Without protections in place, small farmers will be put of business by subsidized imports. Many will have no choice but to grow coca.
In April, the House wisely "stopped the clock" on the Colombia trade deal and now is not the time to let it start ticking. Together, we can say NO to the FTA—but we need you to act now!