CAFTA Report Suppressed

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Hm, I’m not sure this AP report is news exactly: “The Labor Department worked for more than a year to maintain secrecy for studies that were critical of working conditions in Central America, the region the Bush administration wants in a new trade pact.” Didn’t we have this story around these parts months ago? Oh well. The key to note here is that, not only would DR-CAFTA give Central American countries free reign to keep their atrocious labor standards in place, but those countries would be allowed to weaken those standards if they felt like it.

Anyway, also thought I’d link to this article by Richard Rothstein, disputing the argument that developing countries “need” dismal labor standards in order to be competitive on the global market. Besides, it’s not like the “standards” crowd is calling for $10 an hour wages and health benefits for all Central American laborers. The bare minimum, though, should be the right to organize and the right to speak out in the workplace. If higher standards or wages means a country will be uncompetitive, well, that should be the decision of the workers in the country, a decision negotiated with business. This isn’t unreasonable. I’m also not sure I’d oppose CAFTA on labor-rights grounds if the deal simply kept in place the current provisions under the Generalized System of Preferences, which pressures Central American governments to “afford internationally recognized labor rights.” That system isn’t perfect, obviously, but it was still something, and was actually useful for pressuring several countries to reform their labor laws. CAFTA, however, would junk the Generalized System of Preferences, which has the misfortune of being both unnecessary and unconscionable.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate