Opposition is fierce, at least online, to the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, with detractors saying such an agreement between Western Hemisphere nations would mean an end to U.S. sovereignty.
First proposed in 1994, the pact would enlarge NAFTA, the North America Free Trade Agreement, to include all of the nations of the Americas except Cuba.
FTAA supporters say the agreement would foster economic progress throughout the hemisphere by eliminating trade and investment obstacles between nations.
Those behind the website StoptheFTAA.org, however, see it as a death blow to American freedom.
“The FTAA is actually an enormously deceptive power grab,” the site states. “The promise of increased economic prosperity is merely enticing but poisonous bait for a trap designed to hobble once-independent nations to an emerging hemispheric superstate, controlled by internationalists behind the scenes.”
The site notes rather than bring freedom in trade, NAFTA actually caused the creation of more than 20 commissions to regulate commerce between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“Privately, proponents are saying that the FTAA would deepen NAFTA by claiming jurisdiction over an ever-increasing number of functions that have previously been under the control of national, state and local governments,” says a warning on the site.
StoptheFTAA.org, based in Appleton, Wis., compares the agreement to the European Union and its effects on the sovereignty of nations in Europe.
“Outside the public limelight, FTAA proponents have admitted that their plan follows the path that was used to entice the nations of Europe into gradually submitting to the growing government of the European Union,” the site states.
“Under the planned FTAA, Americans will gradually lose control over their destiny, their property, their taxes, and they will lose the protection of their rights by the Bill of Rights. The FTAA, like the European Union, will eliminate the enforcement of national borders to foster the free flow of peoples, not just products. National borders will become like our state borders. The immigration problem will be solved, since there will be no more immigration, only migration of populations at will.”
Prior to formation of the European Union, nations there participated in a “free trade zone” called the Common Market.
As evidence for the organization’s belief that FTAA would usher in international governance, the site quotes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger discussing the passage of NAFTA in the 1990s.
Kissinger told the Los Angeles Times passage of NAFTA “will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War. …” NAFTA “is not a conventional trade agreement,” he noted, “but the architecture of a new international system.”
Opponents also warn of the end of borders within the Americas, quoting Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.:
“There are people in the [Bush] administration, and in Mexico, and in Congress, who believe that we should do away with borders entirely. Their ultimate goal is to create this hemispheric ‘free trade’ area consolidating all of North and South America into some kind of ‘United States of the Americas.'”
Mexico’s Vicente Fox stated in 2002:
“Eventually, our long-range objective is to establish with the United States, but also with Canada, our other regional partner, an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union, with the goal of attending to future themes [such as] the future prosperity of North America and the movement of capital, goods, services and persons.”
A page on the opponents’ site discusses the use of the term “harmonization” by globalists.
“When negotiators for the European Community or the North American Free Trade Agreement use the term ‘harmonization,’ they are referring to the effort to impose uniform wages and regulations across national borders,” states the site. “With respect to human rights, ‘harmonization’ refers to the subordination of national constitutions to U.N. human-rights conventions and covenants.
“Naturally, in the United Nations, where the vast majority of member states are authoritarian regimes, ‘harmonization’ means that American citizens must yield their rights for the common ‘global good.’ The U.N. Charter, of course, like most of the national constitutions of U.N. member states, recognizes no God-given individual rights and certainly no individual right to keep and bear arms. So, for example, ‘harmonization’ would inevitably mean tightening controls on the loosely regulated U.S. gun business.”
Proponents of the FTAA have not learned the lessons of history when it comes to what brings true freedom, opponents claim.
“Prosperity comes from a culture and a political system that protects freedom. Men must be free to innovate and to keep the fruits of their labor. That opportunity explains the incredible rise of the American middle class during the 19th and 20th centuries and why so many people came to this nation in search of a better life.
“The internationalists promoting the FTAA have rejected those lessons of history – they seek to regulate the world, not to advance freedom either at home or abroad. And they have little compunction in providing foreign aid to corrupt regimes that keep their people in poverty.”
StoptheFTAA.org notes the FTAA’s connection to David Rockefeller.
Journalist William Jasper wrote after the ’94 Miami event announcing the proposal: “The Summit of the Americas and the FTAA were conceived, nurtured, and brought to fruition by the Council of the Americas (David Rockefeller, founder and honorary chairman), the Americas Society (David Rockefeller, chairman), the Forum of the Americas (David Rockefeller, founder), the U.S. Council of the Mexico-U.S. Business Committee (Rodman C. Rockefeller, chairman), the Council on Foreign Relations (David Rockefeller, former chairman), the Trilateral Commission (David Rockefeller, founder and honorary chairman), the Chase Manhattan Bank (David Rockefeller, former chairman), and the Institute for International Economics (David Rockefeller, financial backer and board member).”
Opponents of the FTAA also warn against passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which, like the FTAA, enjoys the support of President Bush. They see CAFTA as a stepping stone to the broader pact.
Last week, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns traveled to North Dakota to try to convince sugar farmers that the Central American Free Trade Agreement would not harm their industry.
The opposition site features a video clip by William Norman Grigg, editor of the New American, in which he slams both the CAFTA and the FTAA.
In the clip, Grigg notes the consumer market that would be opened up by CAFTA is no larger than New Haven, Conn., but that it would provide “a large population of low-wage workers that will draw our manufacturing jobs south.”
He notes that the agreement “handicaps American farmers and gives an artificial advantage to Central American farmers.”
Though a January 2005 target date for completion of FTAA negotiations has come and gone, the Bush administration continues to talk up the agreement.
“There ought to be as much free trade as possible,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at a news conference this week in Brasilia, Brazil, after meeting with Celso Amorim, Brazil’s foreign affairs minister. “We talked on how we can re-energize our efforts on the FTAA.”
American opponents of the FTAA have some comrades in Cuba. Yesterday, the Fourth Hemispheric Gathering of Struggle against the Free Trade Area of the Americas began in Havana.