Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: The Great Spring Forward
Next story: The Big Dance Comes to Buffalo

Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA: Cut From the Same Cloth

It is probably no surprise most people have not heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This trade agreement, together with the passage of NAFTA 15 years ago, could be devastating to workers in both American and Pacific Rim countries such as Peru, Chile, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Canada, and Singapore.

The NAFTA Agreement slashed close to a million jobs in the US and caused havoc to Mexico’s economy. The agreement was said to raise the value of the pesos and keep jobs in Mexico. It did not: From 1994-1998 there was a 400 percent increase in Mexicans attempting to find jobs in the US. In Mexico it also raised the price of agricultural products because of US multi-nationals undermining the cost of agricultural products in that country.

All of this happened during the Bush-Clinton-Bush years.

Presently global corporation representatives are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership in an unprecedented secrecy. Just in the past two weeks we witnessed a flood of cheap South Korean steel to our country, which directly caused the loss of jobs in some of our northern steel-producing cities. US mining industries from the US and Canada have gone into Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras and have devastated the countryside, causing serious contamination of drinking water. Interesting enough some of the people on the board of directors of these corporations are from the Reagan/Bush years and at that time where cited for human rights violations in Latin America.

The Latin American Solidarity Committee was formed in 1991 because of these concerns. This committee has worked continuously with national solidarity organizations to improve economic justice, human rights, and peace in most of the Latin American countries. For over 28 years LASC has maintained a dental clinic in Chiapas, Mexico, under the leadership of Dr. Tom Potts. Some other actions LASC has taken include local, monthly coffeehouses; annual visits to federal congressional offices to share Latin American concerns; pursuing a negotiated peace settlement in Colombia; delivery of humanitarian aid to Cuba (because of the embargo of many medical items cannot be purchased in Cuba) and other countries; working to stop repression in Honduras; and support of the ALBA Trade Agreement.

On a statewide basis, LASC continues to work with the group Rural and Migrant Ministry to attain economic justice for the farm workers within the state. LASC also continues to make available and encourage educational, working, and observing delegations to many Latin American countries. For the past seven years Dr. William Jungels, videographer, has visited and interviewed families in southern Mexico, to tell their stories about their plight for economic justice.

Wayne Alt is a coordinator for the Latin American Solidarity Committee. The Latin American Solidarity Committee will hold its 33rd Annual Bissonette/Latin American Event on March 26 at Daemen College’s Wick Center at 6:30pm. This year’s guest speaker will be former Buffalonian Crystal Massey. Massey will be joined by former Mexican and asylum seeker Bianey Reyes. Both women work with the Southwest Asylum and Migration Institute in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fair trade merchants and information vendors will be available. The public is invited and reservations can be made by calling the WNY Peace Center (332-3904) or sending a check to WNY Peace Center/Humanitarian Aid, 1272 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209. Guests may also pay at the door. Cost is $20 or $30 for patron. Students with a valid ID are admitted free. Wine and light refreshments will be served.

blog comments powered by Disqus