In March 2011 to mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of CAFTA-DR, UNES (the Salvadoran Ecological Unit) sent an open letter to Deputies of the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly demanding an evaluation of the trade agreement, whose effects they claimed included the following:
- The 60,000 new jobs to be created each year, as promised by those who promoted the agreement, have not been realised; in fact unemployment is greater than it was five years before.
- Small farmers and small businesses have not been able to export their goods to the US market; in fact the crisis experienced by the campesino sector and by small businesses has deepened.
- Food cannot be bought cheaper than it was in 2006; in fact the price of basic foodstuffs is much more expensive; similarly with the price of medicines.
- There is no greater stability or security for Central Americans who migrate to the USA; in fact the humiliation and deportations have increased.
- The commercial deficit between El Salvador and the USA has widened; although exports from US, European and Korean TNCs in El Salvador have increased, imports from the USA have increased much more. Also, despite their stagnation, dependence on remittances from family members has grown.
- Two mining TNCs have claims against the government of El Salvador in a foreign tribunal for US$170 million as compensation for the cancellation of their permits for gold and silver extraction in El Salvador.
- Central American regional integration is experiencing greater difficulties now than it did in 2006 when CAFTA-DR came into force.
- CAFTA-DR is particularly beneficial for transnational corporations that the European Union has also begun free trade treaty negotiations with the region; this is euphemistically called an ‘Agreement of Association’.
Source: Revista Ecotopia 272 (March 2011) ‘Organizaciones Sociales Demandan Evaluación y Denuncia del CAFTA-DR’, San Salvador: UNES.