from Weekly News Update on the Americas
In the early morning of June 28 Peru’s Congress voted 79-14 with six abstentions to ratify the Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA, known locally as the Free Trade Treaty, or TLC), a trade pact Peru signed with the US in December. Some 1,000-2,000 protesters began a march in the streets of Lima to reject the TLC, which they said will destroy Peruvian agriculture and industry through competition with US products. The night before, as Congress was debating the ratification, a group of political leaders from the party of nationalist former presidential candidate Ollanta Humala pushed their way into the Congress building and forced legislators to suspend the session for a half hour.
At the June 28 march, Congress member Javier Diez Canseco, leader of the Socialist Party, said that “struggle and social pressure” were ways of attacking the accord but that he would work on legal action to have the ratification declared unconstitutional.
Other politicians pushed for legislation to mitigate the effects of the TLC. Congress has approved bills providing $171 million worth of compensation for the agricultural sector, and other measures are under discussion. Legislators from the social democratic Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP) voted for the TLC, but PAP leader Alan Garcia, who takes office as president on July 28, has promised to renegotiate parts of the accord. (Punto de Noticias, Venezuela, June 28 from AFP; Univision, US, June 28 from EFE; Prensa Latina, July 1)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 2
Peruvian campesinos blocked roads and held street demonstrations on July 4 to protest the TLC. In the southern city of Pisco, police used tear gas to disperse protesters who were blocking the Panamerican South highway with stones. Campesinos in the south said on July 5 they would continue an open-ended strike and road blockades to protest the TLC.
Some 500 people marched on July 4 through the center of Lima to protest the TLC. The protesters later rallied peacefully outside the bunker-like home of US ambassador James Curtis Struble, which was guarded by 1,000 police agents, while inside the complex President Alejandro Toledo praised the TLC at an event honoring US independence day. (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, July 5 from AP; AFP, July 4; Prensa Latina, July 5; Adital, July 5) Toledo flew to the US on July 9 to begin lobbying members of the US Congress to approve the trade pact. (El Comercio, Peru, July 9)
The US hopes that AFTA will eventually include Colombia and Ecuador.
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 9
Weekly News Update on the Americas
See also WW4 REPORT #123
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Aug. 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution