Sandinistas say FTA bad for health

Sandinistas Say FTA Bad For Health

Managua, Mar 30 2005 (Prensa Latina)- Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN ) legislators will present a minority report against ratification of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the United States, Nicaraguan Congresswoman Alba Palacio said.

The leader of a National Assembly commission that supervises that agreement told Prensa Latina that as the Executive negotiated that agreement, "it is not convincing, since we do not know most of its details."

Thus, the 38 legislators of the Front have opted to present a minority report to reject it, she added.

It is known that the leaders of the PLC (Liberal Constitutional Party), which was opposed to the government, are only requesting minor modifications, and together with Azul y Blanco (White and Blue) government group and Camino Cristiano (Christian Way), they will say yes to the FTA.

Palacio commented that "we are opposed to the FTA because the asymmetry between Nicaragua and the United States is enormous."

"Our medium and small entrepreneurs, lacking capacity to compete with transnationals, would go bankrupt, which would cause poverty and unemployment to increase," she asserted.

She warned that the agreement will adversely affect Nicaraguans’ health, as it will see the withdrawal of generic medicines from the market, which are mainly consumed by the low-income population.

"To impose foreign mechanisms on us to determine which medicines we can produce is incompatible with our Constitution," Palacio said.

She emphasised that if they accept this clause in the FTA, those who would do business in Nicaragua would be the US pharmaceutical companies.

According to experts, those in favor of that agreement are a small group of the Private Sector Company Superior Council and the government.

President Enrique Bolaños is encouraging the rightwing to support the FTA with Washington, saying it is "the only solution to eradicate poverty."

Bolaños, criticized by various social organisations and the FSLN for being a White House puppet in Central America, is pressuring the National Assembly to ratify the agreement.

The parliaments of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have ratified it so far, and the Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, and Dominican parliaments are still to decide about the FTA.

source: Prensa Latina