JULY 28, 2005
12:15 PM

Morrigan Phillips: 202-783-0214 office / 202-258-1822 mobile

Social Movements Decry Passage of DR-CAFTA

WASHINGTON - July 28 - The Mobilization for Global Justice will continue to fight for justice even in the face of the news that the US House of Representatives has passed the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). Though disappointed by the passage of the agreement, MGJ celebrates the widespread social movements which, through grassroots lobbying and organizing, made DR-CAFTA a real battle for the Bush Administration. DR-CAFTA passed by a mere 2 votes, reflecting the lack of broad comprehensive support for DR-CAFTA and disastrous free trade deals in the US.

"Of course we are disappointed that Congress passed DR-CAFTA, but we cannot sit back and sulk. DR-CAFTA barely passed due to the fact that through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), many people in the US have seen the devastation of free trade to jobs and the environment and are willing to stand up and take action." said Catherine Benedict of the Mobilization for Global Justice.

"We know free trade doesn't work for anyone." said Hope Chu of MGJ. "Look at NAFTA. It cost nearly a million jobs in the US and displaced over one million small farmers in Mexico. Anyone who doesn't believe that DR-CAFTA is going to have the same and even worse effects on workers in the US and in Central America is kidding themselves."

The Mobilization for Global Justice is a Washington DC based activist group whose primary focus is on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We have been contributing to the effort to defeat DR-CAFTA for three years and working to highlight the role the World Bank has played in pushing DR-CAFTA on Central America." said Basav Sen of MGJ. "The World Bank has pre-approved US$1.14 billion in loans to Central American countries to implement the provisions of DR-CAFTA. These new loans will only exacerbate the debt crisis in Central America where governments are spending more and more money on debt payments rather than health and education."

DR-CAFTA will accelerate and make permanent the process of privatization in Central America put into motion by World Bank structural adjustment programs. From water to education to health services everything will be up for privatization by foreign corporations, further eroding access to essential services for millions of people in Central America. The disastrous effect of structural adjustment and privatization at the hand of the World Bank is well documented in Central America. In Nicaragua where the education system was privatized, the illiteracy rate jumped from 12% to 34% between 1990 and 2000.

The Mobilization for Global Justice will continue to work for justice in the Americas and the world. September 23-25, 2005, as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund hold their annual meetings in Washington DC MGJ will be there; protesting and drawing attention to the World Bank and IMF's support for free trade agreements as another tool to exert domination over impoverished countries. We call on people throughout the US to come to Washington DC for the meeting to protest the economic violence of the World Bank and IMF.