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There are a thousand stories in which Tom the cat tries to catch Jerry the mouse. President Álvaro Uribe starred in a version of this story a few weeks ago when he went to Washington willing to sign the private suicide of a bilateral foreign trade agreement with the United States, and found that Tom rejected individual sacrifice and preferred the collective carnage of the treaty of American free trade (FTAA).
Forum in Bogotá for the Government to hear the country and not only its neoliberal axis.
There are a thousand stories in which Tom the cat tries to catch Jerry the mouse. None, however, in which Jerry, seeing that Tom fails to catch him with a cage, suggests to him to do so by means of a poisoned trap. President Álvaro Uribe starred in a version of this story a few weeks ago when he went to Washington willing to sign the private suicide of a bilateral foreign trade agreement with the United States, and found that Tom rejected individual sacrifice and preferred the collective carnage of the treaty of American free trade (Alca).
With the bilateral pact Jerry loses, and with the collective Tom wins. And it is because it is an agreement that will open our economy without restrictions so that multinationals, protected by subsidies, can enter it. The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, says it licking his lips: "Our objective with the Alca is to guarantee to the North American companies the control of a territory that goes from the Arctic Pole to the Antarctic, free access for our products, technology and capital throughout the world. hemisphere, without any obstacle or difficulty ".
Why did Jerry surprise Colombians with that journey of immolation in which a good part of the future of the national economy was at stake? Why did you resign yourself, rabus interpernorum, to signing the collective Alca? Why does the neoliberal Hommes-Montenegro axis, oblivious to the majority opposition in Congress, want to tie us to an agreement that will make us producers of chontaduro while we import even arepas, as if 13 years of catastrophic openness had not been enough punishment?
Answer to these questions will offer in Bogotá the forum "Alca: the mirage of free trade", which is convened by more than 70 entities and in which economists, workers, unions, peasants, parliamentarians, NGO spokespersons, students and prestigious national speakers will participate. and international. On Friday and Saturday, round tables, presentations and debates on the implications of this agreement will be thrown in Luis Ángel Arango, which, if we allow it, will abolish all tariff barriers in January 2006 so that Tom can have a quiet snack with the defenseless Latin American mice.
The Alca, let us remember, is a criminally asymmetrical market of 800 million inhabitants where 500 million are Latin American and 250 earn less than two dollars a day. The United States dominates 71 percent of production and 50 percent of foreign trade. In 1950, Latin America accounted for 35 percent of US imports; today only 13 percent. In contrast, United States exports to the region went from $ 31 billion in 1984 to $ 93,000 ten years later. If the cat has such a tasty lunch, why then does it want to sign treaties? Because there are still pots where other cats eat. When the privatization boom, for example, the European boy sniffed at oil, banking and services. The idea of the Alca is that the United States can surround its hunting ground so that felines from other neighborhoods do not interfere.
The friends of the cat (that neoliberal axis that handles the strings of our economy) say that, once the barriers have fallen, Colombia will be able to dedicate itself to importing cheap food and goods and producing what the climate favors: flowers (saturated market), coffee (Asia the
it sells much cheaper), bananas (it will be to other banana countries, because in Europe they protect the Canary Islands), cotton (which is not grown because imports broke it), pitahaya (which depends on the fluctuations in the constipated market).
What little remains of the field and industry will be wiped out by subsidized First World products. All the studies (except some that the neoliberals improvise from today to Friday to counteract the forum) show the ruin of agriculture in Colombia (a speaker will tell the sad story of the Mexican countryside), of medium and small companies and of industries that were so solid like the pharmaceutical company (I recommend the intervention of the businessman from Cali, Emilio Sardi). Since Colombia opened its legs, I mean, its doors, cotton fell from 260,000 hectares planted to 50,000; sorghum and soybeans fell by 60 percent; Food exports increased in the 1990s from $ 2.7 billion to $ 2.8 billion. In contrast, imports soared from 700,000 tons to 7 million, without it being possible to say that there is less hunger. On the contrary: 800,000 hectares of agricultural frontier were lost, 400,000 unemployed appeared and public order broke out.
The funny thing is that, since it was essential to deny the evidence, the axis organized them to produce a study (Montenegro did it, Hommes congratulated him) where, in good Spanish, it is said that, if agriculture breaks down, employment will rise farmer. As the idiot from Medellín commented, "They don't give so much of this so good."
What they give and what they take away will be the topic of the Alca forum. Important to put balls. The Government is morally prevented from continuing to negotiate this treaty without heeding voices such as those that will be heard this week.
* Sent Jorge Enrique Robledo
Colombian Senator for MOIR