Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

a Colombian agreement that breaks my heart

Colombia has installed a variety of giant fiberglass hearts all around the Washington, ostensibly to show just how fun Colombia is. But the real reason that the Colombian government is trying to spruce up its image is to promote the passage of the Colombian trade agreement.

These hearts, which the Colombian government installed all over the city, are a veiled attempt to make the US-Colombian trade agreement more popular.

These hearts, which the Colombian government installed all over the city, are a veiled attempt to make the US-Colombian trade agreement more popular.

The agreement, which is still in Congress, deregulates trade between the US and Colombia, which strips Colombia of the ability to protect itself against US corporations and subsidized farm products, and promotes ecologically unsustainable growth. This is not to mention that the atrocity that Colombian officials turn a blind eye to the murder of people trying to form unions should keep us from doing business with them in the first place.

Advocates of basic fairness have been demonstrating against the Colombian trade agreement this week, myself included. On Tuesday, September 8, we picketed at Union Station, raising our voices to tell Colombian and US officials that the Colombian trade agreement “breaks our hearts.” As I marched, I held a sign in the shape of a broken heart, with the photo on one side of a Colombian man who had been murdered by corporate thugs just because he was trying to form a labor union to secure a better wage and benefits.

In a street theater performance, other activists and I helped to spread the word that the trade agreement is really about big corporations making even more money.

In a street theater performance, other activists and I helped to spread the word that the trade agreement is really about big corporations making even more money.

Freedom of assembly and the freedom to form a union are basic rights that the Colombian government should uphold and protect. Instead, the government just looks the other way when trade unionists are murdered. It really does break my heart.

Then on Wednesday and Friday, I helped out in a street theater performance at the Colombian Embassy to demonstrate just how corrupt all of these inside dealings are. In the performance, US officials hand big corporations a briefcase full of money that says “Free Trade Agreement” on it. The corporations take some of the money to pay off groups of militants, who use their guns to keep the people of the country oppressed but frightened.

At the end of the day, it will take a bit more to urge Congress to vote “no” on the Colombian trade agreement than one picket and two street theater performances, but this is activism: If each of us does what we can, we will really change something 🙂

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Filed under: activism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life

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