Monday, April 24, 2006

Evo Morales Tries to Save the Andean Bloc

Evo Morales, the recently elected socialist President of Bolivia, has joined Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in condemning the free trade agreements that Peru and Colombia struck with the United States last week. Morales says that by giving in to pressure from U.S. corporations, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). Hugo Chavez said that Venezuela would be pulling out of CAN because of free trade agreements, and proposed that Venezuela and other Latin America nations seeking fair trade deals join MERCOSUR, a bloc created to balance U.S. and E.U. economic power.

Free trade policies are widely opposed in Latin America, especially since the implementation of NAFTA, which had disastrous effects on Mexico's poor. BY removing tariffs and subsidizing crops, America flooded the Mexican economy with cheap food which inflated the market and put millions of Mexican farmers out of business. Free trade also results in the exportation of American jobs, and replaces the U.S. labor force with slave labor from third world nations. Unions that have attempted to reform workers rights in Colombia, which were non-existent thanks to free trade deals, found themselves the target of an assassination campaign sponsored by Coca-Cola.