Community Caravan & Rally Against The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) Oct 10

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Attention: News Editors/News Desk
MEDIA CONTACT: Luis Granados Cejas
Phone: 416-417-0931

Latin Americans in Toronto demand the rejection of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) by the Canadian Parliament

As members of the Latin America Solidarity Network (LASN), we express our deep concern about the possible approval by the Canadian Parliament of a Free Trade Agreement with the Colombian government. Our concern is based on the following considerations:

1. Canada should refrain from signing an agreement that strengthens and gives legitimacy to a corrupt and criminal government such as that of President Alvaro Uribe. Union leaders, peasants, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian farmers, unemployed youth, human rights activists and journalists are threatened, displaced or assassinated on a regular basis. Paramilitary death squads continue to carry out gross human rights violations. State security forces are directly involved in these crimes. Amnesty International found that between June 2006 and June 2007 at least 280 civilians were extra-judicially killed by the security forces. In the past eight months, 27 trade unionists and more than 77 members from Indigenous communities have been murdered.

2. The approval of a FTA between Canada and the Colombian government will mean direct political support for Uribe’s agreement on the installation of five new U.S. military bases in Colombia, aimed to destabilize Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The installation of these military bases will unleash the militarization of Latin America at levels never seen before. By signing the FTA, Canada will be acting in direct opposition to the majority of the presidents of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) who recently rejected the installation of the US military bases in Colombia.

3. Free trade agreements do not necessarily increase democracy or protect human rights, as clearly demonstrated by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Mexico. The CCFTA, furthermore, offers no conditions that would assure benefits for medium and small-sized producers in either Canada or Colombia, particularly for rural and indigenous people in that country, who are affected by unemployment, expulsion from the land and environment degradation.

Latin American Solidarity Network-Toronto (
Coordinator Committee

Friday, October 9, 2009

Saturday, October 10th

Join us for a caravan and rally at Liberal MP Bob Rae’s Toronto Centre office to protest the Harper-Liberal party alliance to ratify a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.

11:00 am-Car/bicycle caravan departs from south-west corner of Allen Gardens Park (Carlton & Sherbourne Sts.).

11:30 am-Rally @ Bob Rae's Constituency Office, 514 Parliament Street (Carlton & Parliament Sts.).


The Canadian House of Commons is debating Bill-C23, to implement the CCFTA. The Harper government, with crucial Liberal party support, is committed to implementing the CCFTA and throwing right-wing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe a political lifeline, despite his corrupt, discredited regime and egregious human rights record. Two Liberal MPs in particular, Bob Rae and Scott Brisson, have shown themselves to be strong supporters of the CCFTA.

Come and tell our elected officials that we are opposed to the ratification of the CCFTA. It has no effective, binding mechanisms to safeguard labour, human rights and the environment. Like Mexico's NAFTA, it will negatively impact small and medium-sized producers who are among the most marginalized in Colombia. It will mainly safeguard investors' rights, especially Canadian energy and mining corporations that are active in conflict-zones. CAFTA will aggravate internal displacement, which at close to 4 million people, is already an alarming humanitarian crisis. At minimum, the Liberal party should honour its earlier stated commitment to a full independent human rights impact assessment before further consideration is given to a trade agreement with Colombia.

Organized by: Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance (CASA), Toronto Chapter Council of Canadians & Latin American Solidarity Network (LASN)/Endorsed by:CUPE Ontario

For more Information: esguerra 416.651.2409

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