Costa Rican Indigenous Protest FTT
San Jose, Feb 28 2008 (Prensa Latina) — Hundreds of Costa Rican indigenous people began a protest against the Free Trade Treaty between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States.
Women, men and children set up camp in a plaza facing the headquarters of Judicial Power, protested all night and will continue until Thursday afternoon.
Demonstrators of different ethnic groups accused the FTT of imposing the use of patented seeds that prevent traditional crops.
They warned that the use of transgenic seeds from the United States would affect ancestral crops closely linked to the people’s view of the world and spirituality.
The indigenous leader, Benjamin Mayorga, emphasized that the original peoples of Costa Rica oppose a series of complementary laws imposed by the agreement, that they claim affects their interests.
"Application of the FTT," he said, "worsens the current situation since most subsist on a meager agriculture and would be the first to suffer the unsustainable impact of competition with United States producers."
He pointed out that there is no way to fight against subsidized farmers from that country.
Costa Rica approved the FTT last October 7 in a referendum that did not include the complementary laws that are now stuck in the Legislative Assembly in the midst of legal consultations.
Accordingly the country has until February 29 to present them. If these are not approved the government asked the United States for an extension.
Costa Rica was granted a seven month until October 1, to impose the complementary laws of the FTT.