Free-Trade Agreement Controversies Continue

February 27, 2004

THE Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) this week issued a statement saying the U.S.-Central America Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA) requires only a simple majority of 29 of 57 votes in the Legislative Assembly to be ratified.

In recent weeks, legislators and legal analysts have argued about how many votes CAFTA needs to be approved here.

Under Costa Rican law, the approval of laws that don’t affect the country’s Constitution require only 29 votes in favor. Reforms to the constitution require a qualified majority of 39 votes.

In general, CAFTA proponents have argued the treaty requires only a simple majority. Opponents of CAFTA have said the treaty requires a qualified majority since it will dramatically change the country by opening its telecommunications and insurance monopolies (TT, Oct. 31, Dec. 19, 2003) and require the country make significant legislative changes.

Despite these arguments, the Supreme Court has not issued a formal ruling on the number of votes CAFTA needs to be approved.

AmCham and its sister organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua represent approximately 80% of U.S. businesses that invest in Central America.

AmCham Costa Rica also announced it was “very pleased” with U.S. President George W. Bush’s decision to formally notify the U.S. Congress about the conclusion of CAFTA negotiations (TT Daily Page, Feb. 25).

In related news, Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, the country’s secondlargest public university, has publicly come out against CAFTA, calling its potential approval and implementation a “coup d’ etat.”

According to Henry Mora, of UNA’s School of Economics, CAFTA is part of a neo-liberal ideology backed by nearly all the country’s business sector and conservative politicians, which attempts to impose a specific world vision in a nondemocratic manner.

Approving CAFTA would violate the country’s Constitution, Mora said this week.

 

You may be interested

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets
Central America
448 views
Central America
448 views

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets

Noe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017

Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada
Please Send Coffee!
1548 views
Please Send Coffee!
1548 views

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada

Gustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017

My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
1325 views
Weather
1325 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…