San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Church Takes a Stand on CAFTA

AFTER months of refusing to voice aposition on the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States(CAFTA), the Catholic Church of CostaRica made public its support for theagreement this week.President Abel Pacheco met with representativesfrom the EpiscopalConference last Monday to hear thechurch’s position on CAFTA, said a statementfrom Casa Presidencial.The meeting included Foreign TradeMinister Manuel González and bishopsHugo Barrantes, Angel San Casimiro andJosé Francisco Ulloa.The bishops highlighted the importanceof CAFTA’s complementary agenda– which they describe as “important andnecessary” – and the “ethical foundations”behind implementation of thetreaty.“Our position is to seek that a treatyof this kind meet ethical, social justiceand solidarity standards, with the bestinterests of the most vulnerable sectorsalways in mind,” Ulloa said.The bishops also asked governmentofficials to visit communities and givemembers a chance to clear up their doubtsabout CAFTA. Pacheco agreed to thisrequest.

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