Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Horrific Costs of the US-Colombia Trade Agreement | The Nation

NoBC4U Note: While this article is over a year old, it gives a good view of another country undergoing change with the "help" of the USA.

From the sixth-floor window of a Bogot√° hotel, a flourishing capital is manifest. A hive of activity, it looks every bit the rejuvenated city it is billed as—the pacified centerpiece of a country that has gone to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to shed its violent skin. There are no visible reminders of the carnage that swallowed it whole in the mid-twentieth-century before widening its jaws to consume the rest of the country—at least not from this vantage point.

"It's easy to forget how Colombia used to be," says John Walters, US drug czar during the George W. Bush administration. "The violence was just staggering. You get used to how it is now and forget about the sacrifices that were made, but this has been a remarkable turnaround."

<...but...>

This is what many activists and rights groups believe will be the real legacy of both men: the advancement of a blueprint drawn up decades ago to not only obliterate the insurgency but destroy organized labor and drive huge numbers of rural Colombians from their homes and farms, many of which sit on some of the richest land in the world.

Agricultural provisions within the trade agreement force Colombian farmers to compete against heavily subsidized US products that can now flood the market unhindered. The results are forecast to be devastating. An Oxfam report estimates that the average income of 1.8 million grossly under-protected small farmers will fall by 16 percent.

The study concludes that 400,000 farmers who now live below the minimum wage will see their incomes drop by up to 70 percent and will thus be forced out of their livelihoods. The alternatives open to them will only add to the misery and violence that continue to grow in rural Colombia: Oxfam's findings mirror what the Colombian government, years before the agreement passed, feared would transpire should the CTPA be signed without addressing its many shortcomings.

Complete story at - The Horrific Costs of the US-Colombia Trade Agreement | The Nation

CC Photo Google Image Search Source is upload wikimedia org  Subject is Flag of Colombia WFB 2004

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