Several high profile op-ed's have recently been published concerning next week's House vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement and the North American blogosphere has been quick to respond. What about Central Americans’ opinions you ask?
Victor Rivera, on the bilingual blog, Enlace Noticias from El Salvador, quotes World Bank estimates on CAFTA and tries to weigh out the costs and benefits for all players. Focusing on El Salvador, then then writes:
Our countries are at a commercial disadvantage, this is clear. We have more natural resources than we have manual labor and what we export best are actual Salvadoreans, whose remittances are day by day the most important sector in El Salvador. And this, ladies and gentleman, is the only political explanation of why we should support CAFTA … so that our fellow Salvadoreans working in the U.S. aren't sent back and are able to keep pushing El Salvador ahead.
“Farm Family Marching Against CAFTA” by Shannon Howard of
Dean Córnito from Costa Rica is more straight-forward in his support of C.A.F.T.A. as well as his disgust for former Costa Rican president Rodrigo Carazo who recently visited the U.S. on an anti-CAFTA lobbying trip organized by OXFAM. He is especially frustrated by Carazo's claim at the Carnegie Endowment that 75% of Costa Ricans were opposed to CAFTA without naming a source. Córnito, on the other hand, links to three surveys which all seem to disagree with Carazo's claim.
On June 8th, the Costa Rican newspaper, Al Día published their results which found that 44.3% of Costa Ricans were in favor of CAFTA while 26.7% were against the agreement.
Finally, a poll carried out by Unimer for La Nacion found in May that if a nation-wide referendum was held on CAFTA, 49% would vote in support while 46% would vote against it.
Another Costa Rican blog, the news star, reacts to the recent push by the Citizen Action Party (PAC) to renegotiate CAFTA so it would include open migration like that of the EU:
Are these people stupid or what? How could it occur to them to ask for something of this magnitude, when they know that CAFTA is not going to be renegotiated and much less that the United States would permit a migratory clause of this nature.
And finally Salvadoreños alrededor del Mundo, a new blog for Salvadoreans living outside the country, uses one of its first posts to promote the benefits of CAFTA:
With the approval of CAFTA en the senate of the United States, a new page of hope is opened in the Central American region. The benefits go towards the attraction of investment and consequently a greater number of exports.
Special thanks to Global Voices reader Iria Puyosa who provided several of the links and the idea for the post.