‘Big Businesses Kill the Little Ones’

September 14, 2007

Guido Cambronero, who runs the GP Market and Liquor Store in western San José, has been waiting all day for someone to ask him how he feels about free trade.

At least, that’s how it seems as the energetic 53-year-old springs out from behind the counter to take a smoke break and explain why he thinks the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) would hurt small businesses such as his own.

Cambronero, who travels 50 minutes from the mountain town of Puriscal to get to work each day, lives with partner Geovana Noguera, a homemaker, and has three children, José David, 22, Laura, 18, and Yerlin, 15.

Excerpts:

TT:Will you vote for or against CAFTA in the upcoming referendum?

GC: I’m going to vote no. Here, CAFTA is an issue for everybody, every day… very intelligent people say that elsewhere, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, it has been bad. In Mexico, before the (North American) Free-Trade Agreement, there were 3 million (Mexicans) in the United States, and now there are 13 million because poverty has increased. So CAFTA won’t help.

How do you think the outcome will affect you personally?

Diay, if powerful, strong companies come with a huge quantity of products, they can offer a more comfortable price. Big businesses kill the little ones.

If CAFTA passes, what kind of Costa Rica will we have in 10 years?

I have no idea. But I’ve heard that in other countries it’s worse now than before the agreement… so it will be worse than now.

What is the single most important reason to oppose CAFTA?

If we’ve lived 100 years without this agreement, why aren’t we going to keep living the same way without it? You can’t risk a change if you’re not sure what’s coming. If it’s approved, we don’t know what could happen.

Why has CAFTA attracted so much attention here and abroad?

The reason everybody talks about it in the street and in businesses and on buses is that (some people) want to approve something that in other countries has caused damage. They say that in Honduras they import 95% of products from the United States… that means that Honduras’ money is going to the United States. Here, exactly the same thing will happen, because not everything that’s produced here is grade A, and the United States receives grade A. (We’ll) send 100 products and they’ll accept 20.

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

In context: Costa Rica’s struggles with indigenous land rights
Costa Rica
1206 views
Costa Rica
1206 views

In context: Costa Rica’s struggles with indigenous land rights

The Tico Times - March 19, 2019

Sergio Rojas, a leader of the Bribrí community in Costa Rica, was murdered Monday night in the indigenous territory of…

‘A tragic day for the Bribrí people’ as leader Sergio Rojas is killed
Costa Rica
4999 views
Costa Rica
4999 views

‘A tragic day for the Bribrí people’ as leader Sergio Rojas is killed

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 19, 2019

Sergio Rojas, a leader of the indigenous Bribrí community in Costa Rica, was murdered Monday night, the government confirmed. Rojas…

This week in the Peace Corps: Sports for youth development
Changemakers
580 views
Changemakers
580 views

This week in the Peace Corps: Sports for youth development

Susan W. / Peace Corps Volunteer - March 19, 2019

Some rural communities struggle with lack of resources and recreational activities. In my experience, the majority of the people in…