London Indymedia

The FTAA country by country (2nd part)

Real World Radio | 14.11.2003 15:51 | Globalisation | London

The struggle of the Latin American countries to came out of the deep economic crisis that produce social inequalities is different on each country: “in some countries the struggle advance and in others it declines”. The FTAA process promises solutions, but actually it will implicate to get deep in many of these inequalities.
We continue our tour by Latin America, checking each country’s situation respect to the Free Trade Area of the America’s agreement.

The FTAA had provoked a massive opposition all over Latin America. More than 22 million people are esteemed of having voted against the FTAA in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile.

Everything shows that on any referendum the FTAA loose.

So, USA and Latin American elites will approve the agreement without consulting the people and maybe neither the legislative organisms.

This report tries to move on with the tour by Latin American country’s politic and economic history and its relation with the FTAA.

Peruvian fickleness

The FTAA conformation process, had achieved some kind of consensus between Peruvian directing classes, concentrating the debate in the negotiation strategy it must be implemented for the agreement.

Peru had a historic integrationist position.

On international negotiations, it was ruled by the interest in the “integration with the world”.

That’s expressed in the support to the FTAA Initiative and the successful efforts to integrate the Asia Pacific Cooperation Forum (APEC).

In the 90’s Peru was under the authoritarian and corrupt regime of Alberto Fujimori (since 1992), and put into effect a very radical process of liberalization and economic opening in Latin America.

The struggle against inflation, the macroeconomic stability and the combat against terrorism were the subjects where Peruvian agenda was centered on in the 90’s.

With Alejandro Toledo’s assumption to Peruvian presidency, it’s agreed a consensus in the fight against corruption and the authoritarian institutional dismantlement, previous government’s legacy.

About the economy, the model to put into effect shares continuity postures with others that wants to harmonize with neoliberalism, without getting back to populism.

Peruvian “National Strategy” about the FTAA is very precarious. The parliament had systematically avoided participating in the debate about the FTAA. At the same time, there are explicit differences between sectors of the government.

The “National Strategy” could even vary with the minister’s changes, or because of the permanency of visions or functionaries of the neo liberal policy installed over State sectors in the last decade.

Sometimes that is expressed in contradictions or boycott of the directives given by the ministers.

The mass media make systematic campaigns to show the advantages of free trade and they broadcast hostile propaganda against Andes integration.

Fortunately, in the other hand there are activists against hemispherical integration, as the NGO’s that participate in the anti-FTAA and anti-globalization mobilizations in an active way, and several trade unions organizations joined in the Continental Social Alliance, the Sao Paulo Forum and the Anti-FTAA Forums in La Havana.

In the polemic, which involves institutional, academic and social agents, including the government, two positions coexist: the ones that considerate the Andes integration as an obstruction to the FTAA, and think that Peru must follow United States and Chile’s example (TLC). And, in the other hand, there are the sectors, as the government, which pushes the consolidation of the Ande’s Community and regional integration. This position agrees with Brazilian policy of strength MERCOSUR and South American as a priority.

The official position upholds that the FTAA negotiation and other extra-regional forums as the European Union must be done from the Ande’s Community. It considerate the articulation with MERCOSUR, FTAA APEC, and European Union as part of an open regionalism’s policy.

In spite of that, fundamental positions of free trade practically remove Peru out of the Ande’s Community in the past (1997).

Bolivia: a effervescent country

Differently to there neighbors, the FTAA has in Bolivia a big place on the public agenda.

The feelings on relation to the FTAA in Bolivia oscillate between the skepticism, the fear, the unknowns, the doubt, the rejection and the fatalism.

As the national economy doesn’t find the suitable way for there recovery and the unemployment keeps hitting the Bolivians, the critics to the liberal model keeps growing, strengthen and spreading.

Although the civil society doesn’t have an institutionalized participation on the FTAA process, this has occupied other places, throw ad hoc organizations very sensitive to the regional debate influence that feeds the anti-globalization movements of the hemisphere.

The NGO´s have a direct articulation with union organizations from the city as from the country and it’s summons towards this sectors.

On this way it’s being making a network that has pushed the FTAA inside the public agenda.

The Bolivian Movement of Fight against the FTAA brings together several organizations and made a document titled “80 Bolivian reasons to oppose the FTAA” that explains the positions against the agreement.

The ideological consistence and consequence of the Bolivian social movements expressed there real dimension with the overthrown of Sánchez de Lozada last September

The discussion about the FTAA agreed with the emergency of new politic actors that oppose to the liberal model of development

The discussion with the politic parties was meaningless till the arrival to the parliament in the 2002 of the anti-neoliberal party Movement to Socialism (MAS). Its leader, the coca producer Evo Morales, projects to be a leader of regional reference and impact; and to be part of an extensive network of social and popular organizations that oppose the FTAA.

On this context, different to other Latin-American parliaments, the Bolivian National Congress creates a privilege stage of resistance to the governmental decisions about the FTAA.

About the other actors on the FTAA process, the cautiousness and the skepticism characterize the majority.

There is the idea that Bolivia is not ready to face the Agreement in a supportive way.

From the negotiations start, in 1998, Bolivia showed its doubts to the FTAA process, if the necessary previsions weren’t considerate before starting the negotiations.
Bolivia demanded consideration with its “small economy” condition.

The Bolivia’s official opinion is a will of using the FTAA´s eventual benefits, but “on the bases of a clear understanding of its competitive limitations, its vulnerability, and the size of its real possibilities facing an opening to new markets.”

Another aspect was the official decision of supporting Bolivia’s participation in the FTAA negotiations, as a member part of the Andinean Nations Community (CAN), because as an individual actor, Bolivia wouldn’t have any chance to include its opinions in the negotiated tool”

This inform was done in the bases of the studies from Alan Fairlie Reinoso (Peru) and Raúl Barrios (Bolivia) from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Fes) from Chile (

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