The Free Trade Area of the Americas, was supposed to be a follow up to NAFTA, with a trade agreement that extended from Alaska to Chile.
An extension of the corporate dream as markets would be open to every country in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
The deal was to be finalized January 1, 2005, but has been delayed because of strong social movements across the hemisphere, bringing the debate to the public's attention.
After the destruction of the Southern Cone by Milton Friedman and his "Chicago Boys", many South American countries are not so eager for a repeat.
Friedman had turned the area into a laboratory for the Chicago School of Economics, at a heavy human toll.
The Chicago School also begat the Calgary School, and the Calgary School begat Stephen Harper, a man still determined to complete the free marketeer agenda.
Why else would he unleash John Baird on the world?
Canada and the FTAA
According to Todd Gordon in Imperialist Canada:
Canada has been the most vociferous proponent of the FTAA. The U.S. Congress cooled on free trade in the latter half of the 1990s, making it harder for successive American presidents to successfully pursue the FTAA.And the Harperites are hoping to use that image of a "benign international force", to push through an aggressive agenda.
Canada took the lead negotiating role in the early stages, chaired the Summit Implementation Re?view Group, hosted a trade ministerial meeting and several other Summit of the Americas (of which the FTAA is a part) meetings. In this leadership role, Canada has tried to exploit its image as a benign international force to push the agreement through. "We do not have the baggage," one trade negotiator notes when assessing the prospect for FTAA negotiations led by Canada."
They have established an advisory panel and are trying to recreate a "democratic" movement, according to University of California's Michael Allen, modeled on existing foundations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (2).
According to the New York Times: "The National Endowment for Democracy is a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of Federal dollars into anti-Communist 'private diplomacy.'"
And it was fashioned after Milton Friedman's Chicago style gangster diplomacy.
Pamela Wallin's appointment to the new advisory panel is fitting. According to Michael Byers:
Ms. Wallin, who served as consul general in New York, played a central role in persuading American opinion-makers that Canada was fully supportive of the "war on terror." She now works as a senior adviser to the Council of the Americas, a free trade-promoting organization that counts some of the largest U.S. corporations among its members. (3)The problem facing these free marketeers, is that Latin America is not as keen on the FTAA and all that "democracy". They want to create their own trading bloc, setting their own terms.
They still bear the scars of the "Authoritarian Democracy", while Canada is now in the process of receiving the blows from our own. According to Wikipedia, Brazil is taking the lead as they try to establish a new foundation.
With a Harper majority, we may see an attempt to thwart such a move, with full military force. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Canada recently dropped 240 bombs on Libya and is in the market to buy 1300 more.
For what purpose?
We have got to start paying attention to what is being done in our name. Harper may be trying to exploit our reputation to pursue his agenda, but that good name is wearing thin. We are increasingly being viewed as an aggressor nation.
Is this really your Canada?
1. Imperialist Canada, By Todd Gordon, Arbeiter Publishing, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-894037-4507, Pg. 154-55
2. The D-word out of favor? Don’t tell the Canadians, By Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, December 4, 2009
3. Why I said no to Manley, By Dr. Michael Byers, Ottawa Citizen, December 13, 2007