Uruguayan Organizations Demonstrated Against FTA with the US

Original Publication Date: 
9 August, 2006

500 people demonstrated yesterday in Uruguay against a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. This possibility is becoming more likely everyday, according to the statements of the Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez and the Minister of Economy Danilo Astori.

Both officials told the US Trade Representative for the Americas, Everett Eissenstat that Uruguay has a "historic opportunity" of stretching ties with the northern country.

The Uruguayan Minister of Industry, Jorge Lepra said "the conditions to access to the world's largest economy must be improved".

But the country's main social organizations disagree: last night, they warned that a FTA with the US "would jeopardize our sovereignty and independence".

"If someone believes that the agreement will only include economic, financial or commercial issues, and it won't imply political, diplomatic and military dependence, that person is not only making an incorrect analysis of the current reality but is ignoring Latin America's history", the organizations stated.

The demonstrators also asked for a "better" MERCOSUR, the commercial block that comprises Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela.

The protest's organizers said the US is not negotiating a FTA due to "economic reasons", but in order to affect MERCOSUR and the Latin American integration.

The protestors said they rejected the presence of the US representative (Eissenstat) in Uruguayan soil.

They also said that an agreement like the one proposed by the US will damage public companies as well as middle and small-scale companies. They added that the intellectual property agreements will "destroy" the national pharmaceutical industry.

The opposers to the FTA warned that the Uruguayan legal framework will be ruled by international courts that "will defend transnational corporations".

"A FTA is neither the solution for Uruguay nor for Latin America", they concluded.


This article comes from Radio Mundo Real
http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/

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