Reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Colleagues in the Presbyterian Hunger Program sent the following action alert regarding the Colombia Free Trade Agreement:

Momentum is building fast in Washington to approve the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia along with the Korea and Panama FTA.

We are especially concerned about the Colombia FTA. We know that a fair and humane trade agreement cannot be implemented in an environment in which union leaders are assassinated, and where the land rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and small-scale farmers are consistently undermined. We need your help today to remind our government that we should not even be considering this FTA until there are major improvements in human rights and labor conditions in Colombia. 

As a church, we want to see protections put into place for the vulnerable – who do not sit at the table with corporations and governments when such agreements are negotiated and/or implemented. Protections for labor, indigenous people and the environment are among the most obvious concerns. Trade is such a powerful force that it determines life and death for the world’s poorest; and hence, it is a huge priority for the church.

SAY NO TO THE COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT! through the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness Legislative Alert Center.

“The PC(USA) opposes multinational actions and trade agreements that elevate rights of corporations over the right of governments and indigenous peoples to pass and enforce laws that preserve the public good and protect their citizens, economies, and environments” (The PC(USA)’s Stand on Just Trade – from the 215th General Assembly 2003).

Last month I attended a presentation by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) about their partnership with Witness for Peace that allows Kentuckians and Colombians to make connections between communities affected by the coal industry and miners in Appalachia and Colombia.  At the event, we learned about the devastation and displacement that multinational coal corporations have brought to Colombia, as well as  the threats  to labor organizers in the coal industry in Colombia.   There is a short video on the KFTC website that highlights these issues.  These issues illustrate just a few of the injustices occurring in Colombia, where over 5 million people have been displaced since 1985.

Take a stand for eco-justice and against violence and displacement by asking President Obama to refuse to condone such behaviors by rejecting the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

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