Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CAFTA/TLC has passed; what now?

The colossally bad idea known as CAFTA/TLC has passed by a narrow margin. Being one of those people who lived through the colossally bad idea known as NAFTA -- watching people I knew lose their jobs, watching the loss of self-sufficient communities in Mexico, watching pretty much no one benefit from NAFTA except big businesses -- I never really thought this was a good idea for Costa Rica, and about 48% of the voters apparently agreed with me. A friend of ours was one of the international observers, making sure that the vote went properly and no tampering was involved (why we don't have that in the U.S. is beyond me, especially considering the Florida fiasco). He told esposo that all of the propaganda was basically aimed at those uneducated about the issues at hand -- those who knew what CAFTA/TLC was all about already had decided yes or no and were not going to change their minds. Which made me wonder why we do not have here a similar type of system that we had in California, whereby the government puts out informational booklets that every voter receives in the mail, giving a breakdown of each ballot measure, with a set number of words pro and con. I always read it, otherwise it would have been incredibly difficult (back in the pre-internet days, at least) to get all of that information in one place. Costa Rica really needs something like that.

It seemed obvious to me, in the weeks leading up to the referendum vote, who was for and who was against CAFTA/TLC, and who would benefit from it and who would not. Almost every gigantic, road-hogging, environment-polluting, brand-new ridiculous SUV on the roads had a "Sí!" sticker, as did construction sites and businesses. University students (as evidenced by graffiti all over buildings surrounding the university) tended to favor "no," as did most people driving around in their less-than-pristine, less-than-SUVs. The business had to scare people into believing that they would lose their jobs if CAFTA/TLC didn't pass, so a lot of those people who will be negatively affected by the passage voted in favor of it anyway. Sigh.

University students seemed to be mostly against CAFTA/TLC.

Anyway, PAC members of Congress have vowed to put the brakes on passing laws that need to be passed by February in order for CAFTA/TLC to be valid. Considering the "speed" with which most laws are passed in this country, there's still hope. According to Latin Business Chronicle, "...if Costa Rica fails to pass the laws by February and implement them by March 2008, it will violate the agreement signed with the United States in May 2004." One can only hope. Or at least 48% of the "no" voters can hope. 3%. Damn.

(Speaking of Latin Business Chronicle, can anyone out there translate this into English?: "We view DR-CAFTA very good news for the credit and expect the positive referendum outcome to elicit a favorable near-term market response.")

No comments:

Post a Comment