By Oscar Natalichio
When does it start and why? The different Associations. Can it coexist with Mercosur? 10 reasons to say no to the FTAA and ... one more.
We start with the most basic: it is an acronym that means: Free Trade Area of the Americas.
TO: For him Area that will include: from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. LC: For the from Free trade, that it will "enable" the small and medium-sized enterprises of the member countries to "compete on a completely equal footing" with the large transnational monopolies whose operational center is in the United States and, by extension, in Canada. And the TO end: So of the Americas, that indicates which countries will integrate it. Of course, the necessary and sufficient condition is to be a dependent or subjugated country. For this reason, Cuba is excluded. It is the consolidation of that "America for (North) Americans". The 34 member countries of the O.E.A.
It is a secret agreementTherefore, governments do not officially report what is being discussed or agreed, be they technical or political aspects. Although these negotiations are secret, the number of bureaucratic officials who participate in them, more than 900, makes it impossible for the "agreements" they reach to be hidden.
WHEN DOES THE A.L.C.A. AND BECAUSE?
The conformation of AUK. It has a lot to do with inter-imperialist competition, due to the need of the large transnational groups to consolidate the occupation of the occupied territories in order to increase the looting of them. with exclusivity, eliminating pesky competitors.
This mother organization project began in Miami, from December 9 to 11, 1994, with the third Pan American meeting Summit of the Americas, meeting driven by the United States.
The first objective of the Yankees in that "Summit of the Americas" was to openly confront the Ibero-American Summits. For what reason? : because Spain and Portugal participated in the Ibero-American Summits and the United States and Canada did not participate. And in that of the Americas the United States and Canada would participate and not Spain and Portugal. It is a simple matter of competition for colonial rule. Simple, but fundamental to understand that of the inter-imperialist competition.
In Miami, at that summit in late 1994, the approval of a "free trade" project for the Americas was achieved, to be implemented as of 2005.
That year 1994, of the advance of neoliberalism, contains gems like these: on June 27, Russia adheres to the "partnership for peace" proposed by NATO. Simultaneously, the UN authorizes France to intervene in Rwanda (Security Council resolution 929), when the genocide of more than 500 thousand people had already occurred. Days later, the UN Security Council, by resolution 940, authorizes the United States to intervene militarily in Haiti. On August 29, the III United Nations Conference for Population and Development takes place, with 182 countries. Instead of debating poverty, the focus is on abortion.
On October 4 the IMF and the IBRD celebrate 50 years of the Bretton Woods institutions. And the first of November takes place in Casablanca, Morocco, the first economic "summit" for the development of the Middle East and North Africa, which brings together Arabs and Israelis. Then, on November 15, the II "summit" of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation takes place. They meet in Bogor, Indonesia, 16 countries and Chile is accepted as a new member. The T.A.F.T.A., the trans-Pacific free trade zone, is projected for the year 2020. Also on November 16, in Jamaica (Montego Bay) the United Nations Convention on Maritime Law enters into force. And the year ends in Miami with the proposal of the A.L.C.A.
And in 1994 the "tequila effect" appeared, the crisis in Mexico. It is good to remember that between 1989 and 1994, 95.2 billion dollars entered Mexico from abroad. Of these, 72 billion were "portfolio investments" (28 thousand in buying shares and 44 thousand in financial products of very short term, most of it in Treasury Bonds issued in dollars in 1994. Destination of the income: to cover the financial cost of the external debt (63,500 million in the previous six years) and to compensate the balance of the trade balance that was very deficit. The price of the currency sank from 3.5 to 7 pesos per dollar in March. Capital flight and non-renewal of expired Mexican treasury bonds in international markets accounted for 23,400 million dollars in 1994. 47% of that sum (more than 7% of Mexican GDP) left the country in just the final two months of the year. And reserves fell from $ 29.5 billion in February to just $ 6 billion as of December 31. And it is in this situation that Clinton comes with the "armor." Well, that dizzying decline in reserves implied non-payment.
But it is not long since the end of the year in 1994, just hours, because on January 1, 1995 the "Group of Three", with the entry into force of the free trade agreement signed by Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. And also on that first day of the year the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR) with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. And as if that were not enough, the disastrous WTO (World Trade Organization), which succeeds the GATT. That same day the EU (European Union) it is expanded to 15 members with the entry of Austria, Sweden and Finland. In February, on the 26th, the G7 it is pronounced by a total deregulation of telecommunications. The chess pieces continue to move rapidly on the board of transnationals: on March 6, the EU (its 15 countries) signed an agreement on customs union with Turkey, despite the intervention of the Turkish army against the Kurds. Days before between 6 and 12 of the same month, in Copenhagen, the first world "summit" of the UN for the Social development, where 184 states adopt an anti-poverty program. The month of March ends with the entry into force of the Schegen Convention, signed by seven EU countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Then Austria joined). It is intended to institute a single outer border among them.
And we are going to complete the year 1995. G7, in June, they decide to create a "emergency fund" within the IMF to prevent financial crises such as the Mexican one in December 1994. In July, the WTO signed in Geneva an agreement on the liberalization of trade in services financial In August, the four countries (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) decide their economic integration. Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), then they will incorporate Slovenia. In October, in Jordan (Amman) the second forum for the development of the Middle East and North Africa where the US project to create a regional bank based in Cairo is approved. The EU not far behind. In November, after several months of negotiations, the revision of the convention of Lomé IV by 15 (EU) and the 70 countries of the ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific); the 7th European Development Fund, endowed with 13.3 billion ECU for the period 1996-2000. Also in that month meets, in New Zealand, the Commonwealth to suspend Nigeria for two years for the execution of writer Ken Saro Wiwa. And the representatives of the 18 member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, (APEC) Meeting in Osaka, Japan, they commit to the creation of a free trade zone in 2010 for industrialized countries and in 2020 for developing countries.
And November culminates for the EU bringing together eleven Mediterranean countries in Barcelona in addition to Mauritania and the Palestinian Authority, with the aim of projecting, by 2010, a free trade area within the framework of a "global partnership". A few hours later, the "socialist" Javier Solana Madariaga is appointed secretary general of the Atlantic Alliance (NATO).
And in December 1995, after signing an association agreement with Bolivia, MERCOSUR signed a cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU).
It is interesting to observe how this continuous positioning of the great imperialist groups works. See how it is not by chance that the AUK. to, just as an example, deal the final blow to the MERCOSUR and with it to his approach to the European Union.
Let's carry out a synthetic evaluation of the predecessor of the AUK.. On January 1, 1994, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in North America that extended to Mexico the treaty initiated between the United States and Canada in 1989. That broad "zone of freedom of trade" occurs among countries that, as in the case of Mexico, have an income per inhabitant eight times less to that of its partners. Carlos Salinas de Gortari led the country to enormous sacrifices to enter the TLC granting President George Bush the abolition of tariffs on the most threatened US products, increased corn purchases, opening the Mexican oil sector to foreign investors and, already with Clinton, the establishment of rigorous regulations on job security and environmental protection standards. That regulation was not intended to give more safety to the worker or to protect the environment (in fact we know that pollution comes from large countries and in particular from the US). It was designed to increase the costs of companies that produce in those countries and to delay the effects of their production until they "fit" into the norm. And the "stability" of this great American country begins to waver: With the entry of TLC The resistance begins: the Zapatista insurrection and also the "cleansing": in the internal purges of the ruling party the PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, is assassinated in March, for many not inclined to continue with the treaty. And in Canada, a country with the world's best average standard of living, its system is beginning to crack. The idea of secession from Québec was renewed and important social gains began to be resented. The only beneficiary of the "agreement" is, logically, the United States of North America.
THE DIFFERENT ASSOCIATIONS
We have mentioned the existence of several forms of agreements, we are going to define the most common:
FREE TRADE ZONE: It is a multilateral agreement that allows the free movement of goods, capital and people. It is exhausted in it, in free movement.
CUSTOMS UNION: It incorporates a common external tariff into the free trade zone. The countries of the agreement act against each other as if they were a single country. MERCOSUR constitutes a kind of customs union.
COMMON MARKET: Further progress is being made. They are about having common or convergent macroeconomic policies. For example, spending cannot exceed more than a stipulated% of gross domestic product. This is the case of the European Union, which has made further progress.
INTEGRATION: It is a broader aspect. Well, in addition to economic issues, they go to political and cultural agreements. The European Parliament and the judiciary of the EU are examples of this. The single currency, etc.
Where would we place the A.L.C.A.?
Despite certain characteristics similar to the previous descriptions, the AUK. is something else. In principle it refers to the free mobility of capital and goods. Eliminates the free movement of people as in the Free Trade Zone. No blacks, Indians, mestizos entering the US What they produce with starvation wages possibly yes, as human beings, no. Goods, services, investments can circulate freely; Intellectual property will be "respected" and will be "analyzed" in a dispute commission regarding subsidies, antidumping and countervailing duties. There are no local courts of law. The new "constitution" is the supranational agreement. It is about providing protection and "legal security" to foreign investments over national states. All of this is clearly going to be dominated by the United States. "Freedom" is so wide, without limits, that it equates a large transnational with a small neighborhood company. For this reason and for many other situations, we can affirm that the AUK. does not respond to any of the categories described, it has its own category and it can be called ANNEXATIONISM.
It is the culmination of the colonial and neocolonial process that imperialism needs, which first occupied territories militarily and later dictated the economic guidelines and also the policies of the nations. Now this must be replaced by the direct annexation of the territories that thus cease to be a Nation and cease to have currency, keeping, for not long, flags and hymns as a reminder of what they once tried to be.
It is logical that Cuba was not invited, since they knew in advance the response of the only truly free country in Latin America. Nor would San Martín or Bolívar or Martí or Artigas.
Traitors are needed to enter. Men willing to sell themselves for a dollar, infamous traitors of the country, such as the extraordinarily mediocre Argentine politicians and rulers.
What I describe below is worth considering. There is no doubt that these steps taken by imperialism accelerate from the fall of European socialism, from the fall of the USSR. It is from this fact that imperialism can abandon the forced "welfare state" installed to counter the advances of socialism and for the great struggles of the peoples in pursuit of their national and social liberation. In socialism, this advance that manifested itself in a great improvement in the standard of living of the peoples where the experience began. The Soviet Union had eliminated famines, illiteracy and produced, from a feudal country, a world power. Its productive apparatus was destroyed during the Second World War. More than 20 million of its best men and women died liberating the world from fascism (imperialism) and even so they managed to raise their life expectancy to more than 74 years.
Do you want to know how it is today, under saving capitalism? Many of the republics have returned to famines. Mafias linked to transnational corporations dominate the states. In order not to abound in data, mention that in 8 years of capitalism the Russian population lost more than 8 years of life expectancy. Today it stands at 65 years average.
But not only Russia and the other republics that made up the USSR suffered with the loss of socialism, even with all the defects it might contain. The entire planet, whether or not it agrees with its principles, suffered from this monumental loss. And now, while capitalism consolidates, advances at ease, accumulates more wealth, poverty is growing at alarming levels. There are African countries where life expectancy barely exceeds 35 years. And that occurs in 2001, in a world that produces more than 500 grams of food per day for each of its 6.06 billion inhabitants. A horror!
CAN MERCOSUR LIVE WITH THE FTAA?
We are going to replace the question with another about a stage that we are already living: Could imperialism (or neoliberalism) continue to develop with the existence of strong National States, with state companies that dominate the strategic sector of energy, communications, maritime, education, health, etc.? Of course not!
But achieving the destruction of the state meant meticulously planning its discredit. Make millions of people believe, through monopolizing the message, that the ills that afflicted us came from an inefficient elephant state that was dedicated to performing functions that individuals should cover.
They managed to convince almost 90% of the population with repeated lies to the point of exhaustion. A large part of those who supported this nonsense today make up the legion of the marginalized and unemployed and another large part of those who live in permanent fear of losing their job every day.
It is time to learn. Well, we pay dearly for the horrors. And because we owe more respect to those 30,000 disappeared people who fought for this not to happen. That they gave the best of themselves, their lives to avoid what is happening today. A country mired in misery, in frivolity, in the power of the monopolies even on the political plane.
Enough of the formalities! Without the existence of the socialist bloc at the international level and with the disappeared at the national level, imperialism believes it is slipping easily. We must give a forceful response to show them not only that we exist but that we are willing to fight and defeat it.
The A.L.C.A is there to replace and eliminate regional markets. Therefore, there is no doubt that Mercusur cannot coexist with this body of transnational corporations.
10 REASONS TO SAY NO TO A.L.C.A ... AND ONE MORE
The Mobilization Committee against the FTAA in Argentina explains with great clarity the "10" reasons for not integrating this nefarious body, noting:
It extends to the entire continent a treaty that has already proven its terrible consequences social. Refers to NAFTA or NAFTA.
It was crafted in secret. It refers to its characteristic of "secret treaty", drawn up behind the backs of the peoples and against the peoples.
It further degrades labor rights and working conditions. It refers to the fact that in order to compete, the only alternative left to the "local entrepreneurs" is to pay lower and lower salaries. Accentuate what is already happening.
Destruction of the environment increases. It refers to the fact that the depredation of the natural resources of our countries will increase.
It puts the lives and health of peoples at risk. They absorb patent monopolies and make already expensive drugs more expensive. They test harmful products in "the backyard."
It validates and deepens the privatization of social services. It refers to the elimination of social services, turning them into mere merchandise with reserved access for those who can pay for it.
It accelerates the bankruptcy of small and medium-sized companies and destroys the country's industry. It refers to the elimination of all kinds of barriers so that large transnationals "compete on the same plane" with SMEs.
It further limits the democratic rights of society. It refers to the large cut in attributions accepted by the entering country. The FTAA is mounted on national constitutions.
Increases poverty and inequality. It refers to the direct effects of the closure of factories, the depredation of the environment, and job insecurity.
Remove the other integrations. Those that can fight the FTAA. Those that would allow us to bring together all progressive, honest and revolutionary sectors in pursuit of a unity that achieves a world of solidarity with a place and work for all.
Finally, it is necessary, by way of synthesis, to express the following:
The FTAA is not just another organization, it is a plan conceived by imperialism or neoliberalism to finish destroying the nation states and converting nations into incorporated territories.
It is the continuity of the dismantling begun with the privatizations, the continuity of the attempts to leave the countries without their own currency, like Argentina with convertibility or others with direct dollarization. Now it is a question of consolidating those advances, of definitively destroying the national state, of ANNEXING IT.
Preventing it is a patriotic duty. WE ALL MARCH AGAINST THE FTAA. Let the world know that Argentina is no longer willing to continue serving as the spearhead of imperialist projects.
* Oscar Natalichio [email protected]
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo