In the News

Administration blocked release of reports on Central America trade agreement

KESQ Channel 3

WASHINGTON Internal Bush Administration documents show the Labor Department kept secret government studies that support Democratic opponents of the White House's new Central American trade deal.

The administration and some members of Congress want to eliminate trade barriers with Central America. They say that would open new markets for U-S farmers and manufacturers.

However, critics argue the agreement would allow serious labor violations to continue in Central America.

A Foreign Fight

American Bar Association Journal

Alberto Galvis Claims That Occidental Petroleum Corp., Is Liable for a Raid That Killed His Family in Colombia. A Revived Alien Tort Laws May Get Him His Day in U.S.Court


Alberto Galvis blames Occidental Petroleum Corp. for killing his mother, his sister, a cousin and 14 other people in a December 1998 bombing raid on their town in northeastern Colombia.

“I saw seven bodies, most of them burned and mutilated,” Galvis recalls. “My mother was among them. She was inside the store, by the refrigerator.”

U.S. Blocked Release of CAFTA Reports

Associated Press

By Larry Margasak

WASHINGTON -- The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration's new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights. The agency dismissed the conclusions as inaccurate and biased, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

CAFTA provides summer suspense in Washington

Miami Herald


D.C. cliffhanger: Can opponents kill CAFTA or can President Bush cajole and compel Congress to approve the treaty to make six Latin countries full trade partners?

WASHINGTON - After more than a year of false starts, the Bush administration Thursday sent a free-trade agreement with Central American nations and the Dominican Republic to Capitol Hill, setting up what is expected to be this summer's political blockbuster.

CAFTA in Peril on Capitol Hill: One Business Leader Gives Lawmakers an Ultimatum

Washington Post

By Thomas B. Edsall

With the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in serious trouble, a prominent business leader recently laid it on the line: Business groups are prepared to cut off campaign contributions to House members who oppose the pact.

"If you [lawmakers] are going to vote against it, it's going to cost you," Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned recently during a meeting on Capitol Hill of leaders of a 500-plus business-trade association coalition with more than 500 members.

Senator urges cocoa trade to act on child labor


By Jeff Coelho

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Tom Harkin says the cocoa industry must deliver on its promise to wipe out forced child labor on farms in West Africa or face legislative action.

"I hope the industry will do what they said they were going to do. If not, then I'm going to be looking at legislation," Harkin told Reuters. "It could be anything from 'B' to 'T' -- from boycotts to tariffs."