Friday, October 05, 2007
Dates to watch
As I read the news I often come on interesting dates and deadlines, such as the deadline that an investigating committee may give some corrupt agency of the Bush administration to produce documents. So I thought I'd run an ongoing column of dates that catch my eye. Here goes—
- Oct 7 - Sun: Costa Rican referendum on CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic have ratified it without a referendum, but popular opposition in Costa Rica, the most democratic country of Latin America, forced the vote. A big rally was held last Saturday in San Jose where "A government official told Reuters that more than 100,000 people turned out for the demonstration, a huge protest in a country of 4 million."
This is the country's first referendum since its independence from Spain in 1821, and it is the first popular referendum on a free-trade agreement anywhere. The government has been embarrassed by the disclosure of its game plan for the "Yes" campaign that included plans to manipulate the media. Among them: "Stimulate fear. This fear is of four categories: 1. Fear of the loss of jobs... 2. Fear of the attacks on democratic institutions... 3. Fear of foreign intervention... and 4.Fear of the effect of a no triumph [on governability]."
You can bet your bippy that some American funds are involved here (Foreign funds in a referendum are of course illegal under Costa Rican law.)
Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democrats have been reassuring Costa Ricans that they're not about to lose their current trade status if they reject CAFTA. For more on this and Republican counter-efforts, see "Devil worshippers taking over anti-fair trade campaign in Costa Rica."