Jobs with Justice activist Margarita Alvarez said that the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was "Just a way for rich people to get richer" at a panel discussion on the situation in Honduras at the Texas Progressive Center on July 28. The President of Honduras, who originally supported CAFTA but had begun to change toward policies more beneficial to his own people, was kidnapped and exiled by the military on June 28. The Dallas forum gave people a chance to find out what had really happened.
Lon Burnam, Hobie Hukill, Ricardo Ventura, Margarita Alvarez, and Nancy Hall made up the panel. They were introduced by Texas Progressive Center leader Tracy Clinton, at right.
The Director of Texas Fair Trade Watch, Bob Cash, tried to come to Dallas, but was unable. He sent the following statement about the situation in Honduras:
"The Texas Fair Trade Coalition (TFTC) condemns the recent coup in Honduras and calls on the United States government to use every tool available to reinstate the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. We are echoing the position already taken by the majority of our more than 40 labor, environmental, human rights, faith based, peace and social justice organizations that make up our coalition.
'In addition to supporting the position taken by the AFL-CIO, the TFTC viewpoint is summed up by the statement of Leo Girard, international president of the United Steel Workers Union: “This military coup is an illegal attempt to use armed force to overturn the course of democracy and social progress chosen by the Honduran people at the polls, and we call upon the nations of the world, and especially the U.S., UK and Canada, to officially declare the seizure of power by the military in Honduras a "military coup" and to act accordingly.”
'The TFTC views the political and economic turmoil that is threatening democracy in Honduras and other Central American countries as the result of the implementation of Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). This extension of the NAFTA-model of “free trade” to Central America has brought the same economic, social, and political calamities to its working people that NAFTA produced in Mexico. And once again workers in the United States have been faced with offshoring of good paying jobs to industrial sweat shops in Central America. --Bob Cash, Director of Texas Fair Trade Coalition"
Hobie Hukill of Alliance/AFT urged everyone to support House Resolution 630, which calls on the United States to do a lot more than it already has to return democracy to Honduras. He asked everyone to call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121, the White House at 202-456-1111, and the State Department at 202-647-4000.
Activists from the discussion agreed to meet at KNON, 5353 Maple, at 11 AM on Saturday, August 1, to brainstorm more activities.