San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Opposition Wants More CAFTA Hearings

Legislators in the International Affairs Commission discussing the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) are divided over whether to hold more hearings on the controversial trade pact.

“We’ve already had more than 40 hearings,” National Liberation Party (PLN) legislator Janina Del Vecchio told The Tico Times. Del Vecchio said she and the other three PLN legislators on the commission are against scheduling any more hearings.

Liberation hopes to bring the pact to a vote sooner rather than later. The party brought pro-CAFTA President Oscar Arias to power earlier this year.

“Next Monday or Wednesday the he arings will be done… Representatives from all different sectors have already come to speak about CAFTA,” Del Vecchio said.

However, legislator Alberto Salom, from the Citizen Action Party (PAC), said he believes another 25 organizations that want to opine about the trade pact in Congress should have the chance to do so. His political party, headed by former presidential candidate Ottón Solís, maintain CAFTA should be renegotiated.

“We’re not obstructionists, but we want the decision to be made after having heard all of those organizations,” Salom told the daily La Nación. Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) legislator Lorena Vásquez said she also favors more hearings.

Libertarian Movement legislator Luis Antonio Barrantes told La Nación he opposes more hearings.

Del Vecchio said the commission will likely vote on whether or not to allow more hearings next week. Once the hearings are over, legislators will each have a chance to speak about the legislation before it is sent to the main floor. Del Vecchio said no amendments can be made to the trade pact.


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