Rich Guys in Business Suits copyright 1997 Bob Darby

Jimmy Carter is dreaming, of giving Latin America the splendid gift of "free trade" with the United States! And Bill Clinton and Al Gore must share that same fluffy bed, and dream the same sweet dreams, because a Western Hempisphere Free Trade Summit Meeting is scheduled by all of them at the Carter Center, starting April 28. Lots of rich guys in business suits will be in Atlanta for that Big conference - VIPs like Mexiscan President Zedillo, U.S. drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Newt Gingrich, Gerald Ford plus various bosses from Coca-Cola, Bell South, Delta Airlines, Nations Bank and United Parcel Service.
The Atlanta Constitution says that corporate donars will pay for much of the conference cost. These "donations" buy influence with prospective Latin Trading partners and firm up the loyalty of eager politicians who are already facilitating access to new markets in countries like Mexico and Guatemala. Thanks to "free trade", corporations like General Motors have already relocated factories from Michigan to Mexico, where real labor unions are illegal and where workers often are required to work sixty hour weeks for a dollar an hour or less, with no benefits or rights. In Guatemala the Chiquita corporation - formerly known as United Fruit - has access to thousands of landless peasants who will work for almost nothing, harvesting bananas so that El Norte (that's us) can have cheap fruit, Chiquita executives can have high salaries and stockholders can get their usual return.
This is what Mr. Carter's and Mr. Clinton's dream of "free trade" is all about: for everybody except rich guys in business suits and their servile politicians, it's a grim nightmare. For El Norte workers like us, it means losing job security and having our incomes pushed downwards. It means more homelessness and more prisons. For Latin workers, it means a desparate and permanent struggle for meager survival. For many others - for some homeless here, for the Latino "disappeared" there - it has already meant death, brought on by rich guys in business suits, their hired politicians, their military and police employees.
Mr. Carter's "dream" of Free Trade with Latin America is better described as "scheme", or perhaps "sham", than a "gift". It's a bloody and evil business, constructed over decades and masterminded mostly in the United States by rich guys in business suits, by people not unlike those attending the Carter Center conference.
The U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning GA, has been accused of teaching Latin soldiers to rape, torture and kill their own people.The Pentagon's recent , and reluctant, declassification of torture brochures used in the curriculum is pretty solid proof of the allegations. For more information on U.S. training in torture, kidnapping and death squads, write Father Roy Bourgeois at SOA Watch, PO box 3330, Columbus GA 31903.
The SOA curriculum is a bloody servant for a ruthless corporate pillage of Latim America. But the pillage is global, degrading the lives of workers in the U.S. and everywhere else on the planet. What our rich guys in business suits are already doing in Latin America they will get around to doing here, when it suits them.
Mr. Carter knows what the School of the Americas does. He remembers how, when he was president, the U.S. covertly aided the genocidal Khymer Rouge. How could he not know about Cia involvement in heroin trafficking during the Viet Nam war, about the role of the Pentagon and Cia in cocaine trafficking during the Iran-Contra affair? Read Bob Woodward's Veil: the secret wars of the CIA, and Alfred McCoy's The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade to find out what Mr. Carter knows. Our famously devout Southern Baptist should consult his own Southern Baptist bible, which clearly states, "He who has ears to he
ar, let him hear" (Matt. 11 - 15). back