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San José, Costa Rica, October 27th, 2007
Congresswomen and Congressmen
Honorable Representative Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
Honorable Senator Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
Honorable Representative Charles B. Rangel
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
Honorable Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Honorable Senator Sander Levin
Committee on Ways and Means
Honorable Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Honorable Senator Sherrod Brown
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Honorable Senator Bernard Sanders
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Honorable Representative Raúl Grijalva
Committee on Small Business
Honorable Representative Mike Michaud
Committee on Veterans Affairs
Honorable Representative Linda Sánchez
Committee on Foreign Affairs
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dear Congress Representatives,
The Costa Rican Patriotic Committees emerged spontaneously in all of Costa Rica - -without any association to political parties or personal interests — to oppose CAFTA since it is detrimental to the country and its society.
As representatives of such committees, and other organizations that joined forces in defense of democracy, legality, sovereignty, human rights and freedom in Costa Rica, we address you, representatives of the North American people, birthplace of democracy in America, to expose the truth about the referendum celebrated in our country on October 7th of the ongoing year.
For the first time, our people were called to decide about a proposed law. For the first time, the power to legislate would be directly exerted by the people, and for the first time in Latin America, the approval or rejection of a trade agreement with the United States would be a decided by the citizen’s will, expressed in the ballot boxes.
With even more reason then, the election should have been made, but was not, by means of “authentic” elections, according to what all international human right’s pacts explicitly declare, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
“Authentic” means absence of coercion and without improper disadvantages for any of the participants, according to what the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly said. For example, its Report about the conditions in which the Constitution of Chile was submitted to a plebiscite, in 1980, and its 1983-1984 Report regarding government intervention in the electoral process of Nicaragua.
Advantages and coercion
Regretfully this did not happen. Instead, the government established completely unbalanced conditions against those of us who opposed the agreement. It involved itself as another participant in the process, even though the Constitution prohibits it; it promoted and allowed economic resources that were a hundred times bigger for those favoring the agreement; and, taking advantage of its dominant position, recurred to all kind of pressures to force the citizen’s will.
The worst came at the end when, facing evidence that in spite of everything “No” would win, the government recurred barefacedly to intimidate the electorate so they voted “Yes”, with direct cooperation from the White House, and the local U.S Ambassador here.
This way, the most feeble or impressionable sectors of the population, were terrorized with the imminent loss of their jobs and their future to make them vote “Yes”. The election was vicious, both by the deceit that nulls the intention, as well as by fear, that nulls freedom. The Costa Rican and American people, in consequence, were tricked by the authorities of the executive branches of both countries.
The intervention of the Costa Rican authorities and certain entrepreneurial groups in the process previous to the referendum, appealed to threats and lies to accomplish the approval of the “agreed text”. Threats to lose jobs (massive dismissals), of losing foreign investment, of missing “the train of development”, of “being taken by the Devil”, if the agreement was not approved, were spilled in every corner of the country by Ministers, Mayors, managers and even by the President of the Republic.
Lies spoke about prosperity, wealth, labor opportunities and education, welfare for all Costa Ricans, which are not contemplated in any of the chapters of the Agreement. Also, about the expiration of the benefits of CBI and about the absolute impossibility of renegotiating the terms of the Agreement.
When this illustrate Congress clarified that none of this was true, the lies and the threats where supported by means of the diligent intervention of Ambassador Langdale, of Susan Schwab and of President Bush, who in the two days of truce before the referendum, made public statements warning Costa Rica about the ill-fated consequences of the rejection of the Agreement; these statements were incessantly spread out by the government.
This is how, in the last moment, Costa Rican citizens were surprised and intimidated to bias the result in favor of “Yes”, since the surveys immediately before indicated a difference of twelve points in favor of “No”. In this way a clear case of coercion and terror took place against a peaceful nation that has always been a friend of the great nation you represent.
Therefore, the electoral result, of three points in favor of “Yes”, was not the expression of popular free will, which nulls it, in addition to making it a transgression of internationally recognized human rights. For that reason it cannot be recognized for its own internal purposes by this Congress, that represents the American people, and their high and true values, which are not the ones prevailing in the White House at the present time.
But also, in the mentioned referendum the object is null, because CAFTA was NOT approved in it, as signed by all parts and approved by the Congress of the United States.
What was submitted to ballot was the ‘agreed text’ by the Special Committee of International Affairs and Foreign Trade of the Legislative Assembly, which means, a reporting bill of the agreement, among other three, that was emitted by five official Representatives, out of the fifty seven that integrate our Congress.
That report, that was also never voted, contains an expression of governmental will, to influence the electorate, in violation to the duty of impartiality in the elections, which the Constitution of Costa Rica imposes to public authorities. Also, the report adds modifications to the Agreement, to hide its real extents, even when the signed Agreement, explicitly prohibits changes: it is either accepted or rejected, as it comes.
Furthermore, an ‘agreed text’ by the mentioned Committee DOES NOT EXIST: THREE REPORTS were emitted in it, none of which were known, nor approved, nor ‘agreed’ by the Legislative Assembly.
In other words, a NON-EXISTING object was submitted to vote in the referendum in Costa Rica, and not strictly the text agreed by both governments and approved by the Congress of the United States. Thus the Costa Rican electors were deceived, because the real extents of the Agreement were disguised.
Even if the Free Trade Agreement were considered approved, something legally impossible because of the reasons above mentioned, it is an international agreement that seriously harms Costa Rican rights, because:
a. - It grants abusive privileges to foreign investors, prohibited in the United States, placing national investors in disadvantage.
b. - It includes regulations about patents (medicines, agrochemicals, seeds and other vegetable species) that would monopolize and rise prices of these products. In this way it attempts against health, social and food security, and prevents the application of the current solidarity and social justice principles in Costa Rica, that have allowed our country to flourish and have an advanced position in the world.
c. - It equally injures our national sovereignty in its capacity to dispose and manage its national resources and public services.
d. - It affects labor rights by allowing the application of minimal standards inferior to those established by the Costa Rican legislation and the ILO agreements.
e. - It establishes limitations to the Costa Rican government to legislate and apply laws relative to public interest and common welfare.
This Congress already explicitly acknowledged the above in identical treaties with Colombia and Peru, when it ordered further corrections and negotiations to prevent such actions, which affect also the working people of the United States, by allowing an unfair competition against them.
In short, what has been done regarding the referendum, and what is intended to impose, rides roughshod over our dignity as human beings, ignores our condition of citizens of a free and independent Republic, and violates the authority of this Congress and the great principles on which the United States stands on. In any case, the demeaning clauses of this Agreement that were introduced in its moment in contempt of the bipartisan US Trade Promotion Authority Act No. 107-210, or Fast Track, affects both our countries.
Therefore, we respectfully request this Honorable Congress to reject the alleged approval of CAFTA by the people of Costa Rica.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT THIS LETTER:
Comité Patriótico de Escazú
Comité Patriótico de Hatillo
Comité Granadilla Curridabat
Comité Patriótico Curridabat
Comité Patriótico San Francisco de Dos Ríos
Comité Patriótico Distrito El Carmen San José
Comité Patriótico San Antonio de Desamparados
Comité Patriótico Jericó, Desamparados
Comité Patriótico Patarra, Desamparados
Comité Patriótico de San Josecito de Alajuelita
Comité Patriótico de Alajuelita
Comité Patriótico de Colonia Kennedy
Comité Patriótico de Santa Ana
Comité Patriótico de Goicoechea
Comité Patriótico de Tibás
Comité Patriótico de Moravia
Comité Patriótico La Trinidad - Moravia
Comité Patriótico de San Vicente, Moravia
Comité Patriótico Juventud Moravia
Comité Patriótico de Zapote
Comité Patriótico de Coronado
Comité Patriótico de San Rafael de Montes de Oca
Comité Patriótico Lourdes de Montes de Oca
Comité Patriótico San Pedro de Montes de Oca-UCR
Comité Patriótico Montes de Oca
Comité Patriótico Purral
Comité Patriótico de Cartago
Comité Patriótico La Unión
Comité Patriótico Tres Ríos
Comité Patriótico de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de San Isidrio de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de Barva de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de San Domingo
Comité Patriótico de Santa Bárbara de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de San Josecito de San Isidro de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de San Isidro de Heredia
Comité Patriótico de San Miguel
Comité Patriótico de Barva
Comité Patriótico de San Pablo Barva
Comité Patriótico de Perez Zeledón
Comité Patriótico de Pocosol San Carlos
Comité Patriótico de Liberia
Comité Patriótico Diriá Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
Comité Patriótico de Limón
Comité Patriótico de Puntarenas
Comité Patriótico Cóbano Los Chiles
Comité Patriótico Hospital San Juan de Dios
Comité Patriótico Turrúcares
Comité Patriótico Cebadilla
Comité Patriótico de Mozotal
Comité Patriótico de San Mateo
Comité Patriótico de Naranjo
Comité Patriótico de Orotina
Coordinadora Alajuelense Juan Santa María
Coordinadora Ramonense de Lucra Contra el TLC
Coordinadora Regional Huetar Norte
Coordinadora Regional Norte San José
Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos
Costa Rica Solidaria
Frente Nacional Campesino
Frente Patriótico Escazuceño
Frente Popular contra el TLC Cacique Guarco
Frente UCR, contra TLC
Movimiento No Violencia
Movimiento Social Demócrata
Movimiento Social Demócrata Contra TLC PLN
Movimiento Reforma Agraria
Movimiento Est. Alternativo
Mujeres de Blanco
RÚBRICAS EN EL DOCUMENTO ORIGINAL
Rigoberto Abarca Morales - Gerardo Aguila León - Manuel Aguilar C.
Francisco Aguilar García - Raúl Alvarado S.- Walter Antillón Montealegre
Leonor Antillón Sargent - Juan Arriaga Mora - Rocío Araya Arrieta
Rolando Araya Monge - Fernando Arias A. - Laura Arias Cabrera
Grettel Arias González. - Kateherine Arias G. - Gerardo Badilla A.
Trino Barrantes M. - José Luis Bertone - Jorge Bulgarelli
Mónica Calderón S. - Carlos Campos - Carlos Manuel Campos Méndez
Óscar Campos M. - Óscar Campos O. - Marcos M. Carazo S.
Greivin Chavarría Bolaños - Cynthia Crespo Campos - Antonio Gerardo Castro H.
Gerardo Contreras - Liria Cordero Gené - Jorge Corrales B.
Maritza Chávez Cruz - Enid Cruz Ramírez - Leonidas De la O. A.
Iris De la Paz D. - Isabel Ducca Durán - Teresita Durán Carrillo
Esteban Echeverría - Alvaro F. Morales - Flora Fernández
Yamilette Fontana Coto - Catarina Gaddoni R. - Jorge Gamboa Quirós
Enid González - Luis Gonzalo Mateo - Célimo Guido Cruz
José Antonio Hernández - Víctor Manuel Hernández - Mauricio Hernández C.
Johnnatan Hernández Foseca - Guido Hernández M. - Augusto Incer Arias
Eugenia Jiménez M. - Vilma Leandro Zúñiga - Mario E. León Rojas
Sandra López A.- Carlos Martinez F. - Luis Mata - Jorge Luis Mayorga Esquivel
Alejandra Méndez Garita - Claudio Monge Pereira - Juan de Dios Monge Pereira
Carolina Montero - Alvaro Montero Mejía - Patricia Mora - Pablo Morales A.
Arturo Morales Chavarría - José Morales M. - Manuel Morales Vásquez
Franciso Morera Alfaro - Gilbert Muñoz Salazar - Heidy Murillo Quesada
Marcela Naranjo Segura - Sara Obando Cantón - Leticia Olguín
Raymi Padilla Vargas - Miguel Picado - Ana María Quirós R.
Gerardo Quirós Jiménez - Jeannette Quesada - José Rafael Quesada J.
Luz Hannia Rojas Conejo - Jeannette Román González - Luis Salas Sankis
Carlos Luis Salazar Alvarado - Ismael Salas Cortés - Alberto Salom
Marta Sánchez - Jason Sánchez Acuña - Héctor Solano Ch.
Victor Solano Gutiérrez - Eduardo E. Solís P. - Sonia Solís U. - Eugenia Suárez U.
César Toruño Arguedas - Fernando Traña Castillo - Eugenio Trejos Benavidez
Franciso Ulloa P. - Julio Varela Castro - Irene Varela Rojas - Sonia Vargas A.
Elena Villalobos J. - Maddy Zamora - Rigoberto Zamora Rojas