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Bush Doing Corporate Bidding While On The Clock

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Message Evelyn Pringle
Bush Doing Corporate Bidding While On The Clock

Among Latin Americans, polls show George W Bush to be the most unpopular American president in history. On November 3, 2005, the Argentine daily reported the results of a poll that showed 6 out of ten Argentines opposed Bush's presence in their country.

In the same poll, 75% of those surveyed said they welcomed a visit by Venezuelan President, Hugo Cha'vez, Bush's staunchest opponent in his up-ill battle to win passage of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The FTAA, with the exception of Cuba, would include all Caribbean and Latin American countries. If passed, some experts predict that it will be the largest free trade agreement in history, with an expected combined GDP of over $9 trillion, and a market of more than 750 million people.

The FTAA agreement was designed to bring 34 countries into a single market but it missed its deadline for enactment on January 1, 2005. Earlier this year, 10-year drive toward passage of FTAA was derailed completely after talks broke down when Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil made it clear that they were unwilling to accept the terms set forth by the Bush administration.

In the meantime, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was signed in August 2005, to extend the policies of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to Central American countries to include Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, with a side agreement with the Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA).

Overall, the FTAA faces widespread opposition in Latin America and for good reason. 20 years of NAFTA's so-called economic reforms have resulted in widespread poverty, high unemployment, massive debt, and a series of other economic crises.

Bush is hoping to get the deal back on track while attending the summit, but his prospects look grim. Protests against his visit were already underway in Argentina, 3 days before he got there, with the blocking of bridges and streets in the capital of Buenos Aires, and posters bearing the slogans "Stop Bush" and "Fuera Bush," some of which were superimposed over graphic pictures of wounded children in Iraqi.

Argentine Nobel Prize winner, Adolfo Pe'rez Esquivel, recently told a radio audience that Bush is "a torturer, violator of human rights, an assassin, a violator of United Nations resolutions, of international treaties and of the sovereignty of peoples, as has happened in Iraq."

There were even attempts to obtain a court order to bar Bush from entering the county and back in July 2005, Daniel Katz, the mayor of Mar del Plata, described Bush as the "most unpleasant guy in the world."

Same Old GOP Tactics To Pass CAFTA

"Though constituents widely opposed CAFTA, the agreement passed Congress through the use of bribery, threats, and deception," according to the article, Vote-buying and Arm-twisting, by William F Jasper on August 22, 2005.

The Senate and House set new lows for political prostitution, corruption, and betrayal, with the White House and Republican leaders openly propositioning members in the halls of Congress with billions of dollars in federal projects, along with promises of special trade concessions, Jasper maintains, "all to win passage of a misbegotten agreement that will cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in foreign aid, additional waves of illegal aliens, and further entanglement in sovereignty-destroying international regulatory regimes," he wrote.

Congressman, Ron Paul (R-Texas), one of the 27 Republicans who voted against CAFTA, said the vote-buying price tag may end up being $50 billion or more. "Most of the bribery is hidden away in projects funded by the massive energy and transportation appropriation bills," he told Jasper.

The truth is, CAFTA will do nothing to improve the US economy. In an August 30, 2005 letter to the Forum, Rep Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), tells how "the economies of the CAFTA countries is smaller than that of the state of Connecticut, just two-thirds that of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The idea that we are instantly going to be sending trucks and ships full of American products - high-quality commodities and goods - to the citizens of these countries, where 40 percent of workers earn less than $2 a day, is simply a myth."

In per capita terms, "the countries range from Nicaragua with a GNI per capita of $730, which the World Bank classifies as a low-income country, to Costa Rica with per capita income of $4,280, which is classified as an upper middle income country. The rest of the countries are classified as lower middle-income countries by the World Bank," according to an August 4, 2005 CRS Report for Congress.

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Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America.
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