FACT: FTAA stands for the "Free Trade Area of the Americas".
OPINION: No wonder everyone's all pissed at the FTAA. You gots to get paid
before you go trading
your area with other people.
FACT: Based on the model of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),
would include Canada, the US, Mexico, and all of the Americas, not including
OPINION: After that Elian Gonzales thing, Americans still haven't forgiven
Cuba for wanting to reunite
a little boy with his father. Those sick commies.
FACT: Through April 20-21, 2001, the "Summit of the Americas" brought
representatives from 34
countries to Canada to meet and begin to build a complete text for the trade
OPINION: Kind of like what me and my buddies do when we get together. Except
instead of building
a text for trade agreement, we light things on fire.
FACT: The FTAA is slated to be completed and implemented by no later than
2005. (Canada and the
USA are pushing for earlier implementation).
OPINION: Might as well get it over with. George Burns is not getting any
younger. No wait, isn't he
FACT: Although it is based on the model of NAFTA, the FTAA goes far beyond
NAFTA's scope and
power. It would introduce all the disciplines of the proposed services
agreement of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) - the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) -
with the powers of the
failed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), to create a new trade
powerhouse with sweeping
new authority over every aspect of life in Canada and the Americas.
OPINION: You won't be able to go to the bathroom without a signed letter of
reference from the
president of the WTO if they get their way.
FACT: The GATS is mandated to liberalize the global trade in services,
including all public programs,
and gradually phase out all government "barriers" to international
competition in the services sector.
OPINION: Those bastards in the government are always getting in the way of
my business to sell illegal
fireworks to school children.
FACT: Combining these two powers into one agreement will give unequalled new
rights to the
transitional corporations of the hemisphere to compete for and even
challenge every publicly funded
service of its governments, including health care, education, social
security, culture and environmental
OPINION: If the environment wanted our protection in the first place it
wouldn't rain so damn much.
FACT: All negotiations for this deal have taken place in secrecy with no
public text available.
OPINION: It is important to keep these texts confidential because they could
potentially reveal which
political leaders are gay.
FACT: The FTAA could remove the ability of all the governments of the
Americas to create or
maintain laws, standards and regulations to protect the health, safety and
well being of their citizens and
the environment they share.
OPINION: But with all the money we'll be making from relaxed trade
regulations we'll be able to buy
FACT: As in former trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO, this free trade
contain no safeguards in the body of the text to protect workers, human
rights, social security,
education, health and environment standards.
OPINION: That's the type of stuff commies worry about. No wonder Cuba's not
FACT: Civil society and the majority of citizens who want a different kind
of trade agreement have
been excluded from the negotiations and shut out of the deliberations in
OPINION: The negotiators are kind of like those popular kids in high school
who wouldn't let you
hang out with them, and if you got upset they'd build a giant wall around
the city, spray you with
massive amounts of tear gas, and fire rubber bullets at you. High school was
rough for me.
Stephan MacLeod is happy and safe.