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Protest the Security and Prosperity Partnership in New Orleans April 21st

There will be several days worth of events surrounding the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) meeting in New Orleans, taking place April 21st and 22nd.

The SPP is a series of meetings between the heads of state of Mexico, the United States, and Canada and security officials and CEOs from the 3 nations to strengthen free trade regulations and discuss integrating security measures between the 3 nations. Some have referred to the SPP as “NAFTA on steroids.”

Sunday, April 20th
NAFTA and Prosperity Partnership Workshop
12:30 PM
at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
(1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd)
Contact: nolahumanrights.org
Free workshop as part of the ongoing International Human Rights Film Festival to be held at Zeitgeist. Come and learn about the Security and Prosperity Partnership as the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico meet in New Orleans, and what you can do about it.

Monday April 21st
Protest March Against the SPP!
Meet at Washington Sq. Park(Frenchman St. and Royal St.) at 3pm
March to Gallier Hall, 545 St. Charles Ave.

Monday-Wednesday, April 21-23
The People’s Summit
Our response to NAFTA expansion
* Coming together for our communities
* Linking the Gulf Coast struggle to the fight for the survival of communities in Mexico, Canada, & the rest of the United States
* Building collective knowledge and action to transform NAFTA & other unjust economic policies pushed by Bush, Calderon, & Harper

Monday, 4/21
9am – 12pm Community Tour of New Orleans & Story Circles in Congo Square (St. Ann St. and Rampart St.)
12 – 1:30pm Opening Ceremony & Lunch in Congo Square
2pm – 5pm Understanding Who Profits & How: NAFTA+ and Katrina Profiteering
6pm – 9pm Understanding Who Profits & How: NAFTA+ and Katrina Profiteering

Tuesday, 4/22
9am – 12pm Self-organized sessions
1pm – 4pm Self-organized sessions
6pm – 9pm Breaking Inferiority & Superiority to Restore Ourselves & Our Communities

Wednesday, 4/23
10am Press Conference

To register a self-organized session and to get more information, contact James Williams, Organizer with the American Friends Service Committee, at 504-565-3596 or jamesatdu@hotmail.com

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More info on the SPP:
http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2008/03/12348.php
ottawa.indymedia.ca
mostlywater.org/the_plan_to_disappear_canada
canadians.org/integratethis/backgrounders/notcounting/index.html

By El Enemigo Común

A bilingual website in solidarity with social movements in Mexico. // Un sitio web bilingüe en solidaridad con los movimientos sociales en México.

1 reply on “Protest the Security and Prosperity Partnership in New Orleans April 21st”

Secretive Summit
Today on
NAFTA Expansion!

Call Congress!

Witness for Peace, Mexico April 21, 2008

Today and tomorrow, President Bush will be meeting in New Orleans
with Mexican President Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Harper to
discuss implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership
(SPP), a backdoor NAFTA expansion deal. The SPP has never been
brought to Congress for debate or vote. It has never included input
from civil society, and no civil society representatives will be
present at the talks in New Orleans today. Those who will be present
at today’s summit include representatives of thirty of the largest
corporations in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. To protest, a plethora
of organizations opposed to the deal are holding a People’s Summit in
another part of New Orleans.

While details of the SPP have not been disclosed, the stated objective
is to “keep our borders closed to terrorism yet open to trade.” Doing
so would likely mean an expansion of the failed NAFTA model that has
sacrificed US jobs, Mexican farms, consumer protections, and
environmental laws to boost corporate investments and exports. In
addition, the security component of the SPP calls for further
militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and a renewed “war on drugs”
at the expense of civil liberties. For more information on the SPP,
see below for a just-released organizational SPP sign-on letter.

Call your members of Congress today to stop this anti-democratic
process! Dozens of organizations have signed the letter below to
demand transparency. The letter is being delivered to Congress
today. We need you to add your voice by calling your House and Senate
representatives and asking them to:

Require the Bush administration to immediately halt SPP implementation
and submit the process to Congressional oversight and vote.
Hold congressional hearings in which the process and goals of the SPP
are thoroughly aired and input is invited from a broad cross-section
of the public.

Oppose the Merida Initiative, the first concrete manifestation of the
SPP model, when it comes up for a vote in Congress.

Sign the petition:
globalexchange.org/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=978

See below for background info and talking points.

To reach your members’ offices, call the US Capitol Switchboard at
202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your House and Senate members
(give your state and zip code if you don’t know who your
representatives are).

Plan Mexico: Chapter 1 of the SPP

While the SPP is not yet subject to congressional review, Congress now
faces the first concrete manifestation of the SPP model: the Merida
Initiative. Popularly known as “Plan Mexico,” the initiative would
destine $1.4 billion dollars to Mexico and Central America, mostly in
military aircraft and drug interdiction equipment, with the stated
purpose of fighting drug trafficking and organized crime. This is a
step in the wrong direction:

Arming a foreign military won’t curb our drug problem. After over
eight years and five billion dollars of equipping the Colombian
military through Plan Colombia, just as much coca is grown today in
Colombia as was grown before Plan Colombia. There is no reason to
suspect that repeating this failed model in Mexico would produce
different results.

Supporting Mexican security forces would seriously endanger civil
liberties in Mexico. In response to the 2006 civilian protest in
Oaxaca, Mexican security forces arbitrarily detained hundreds,
tortured many, and killed 23 unarmed people, including US journalist
Brad Will. With no one held accountable yet for these abuses, the
Merida Initiative now proposes to finance these same security forces.
For more background on the Merida Initiative, check out our new
factsheet.

Say NO to Plan Mexico

Organizational Sign-on Letter Against the SPP

April 21, 2008 Dear Member of Congress, On the occasion of the 4th
Leaders Summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), to be
held in New Orleans on April 21-22, we take this opportunity to call
on all members of Congress to educate themselves on the SPP, which was
never brought to Congress for debate or vote. Our concerns include
the opaque and undemocratic nature of the SPP, its definition of
“prosperity” as the expansion of a failed trade model, and its
definition of “security” as the expansion of military force and the
restricting of civil liberties. Congress has been entrusted with
oversight on such issues of trade and security. It is imperative that
they exercise their responsibility on this matter by examining what
prosperity and security really mean. Rather than proceeding along the
failed path of NAFTA, all efforts should be made to implement a trade
agenda that focuses on the needs of communities and people. That
agenda should include the voices of those populations most affected,
as well as their advocates in civil society. Therefore, as civil
society advocates, we call upon the U.S. Congress to:

Require the Bush administration to immediately halt SPP implementation
and submit the process to Congressional oversight.

Hold congressional hearings in which the process and goals of the SPP
are thoroughly aired and input is invited from a broad cross-section
of the public.

Make subject to congressional vote the decision of whether SPP
implementation should proceed.

The SPP is an executive-level, tri-national pact between Mexico, the
United States and Canada, agreed upon in 2005 by the chief executives
of the three countries. According to the official website, the SPP
seeks to “provide the framework to ensure that North America is the
safest and best place to live and do business. It includes ambitious
security and prosperity programs to keep our borders closed to
terrorism yet open to trade.” What differentiates the SPP from other
security and trade agreements is that it is not subject to
Congressional oversight or approval. The SPP establishes a corporate/
government bureaucracy for implementation that excludes civil society
participation. As at past SPP summits the New Orleans meetings will
be open only to government officials and representatives of the
corporate sector. Civil society will be kept on the other side of the
fence, their voice silenced. The leaders will hear reports from the
various SPP working groups and receive advice and input from the North
American Competitiveness Council (NACC). The NACC is made up of 30
large corporations, 10 from each of the three countries. Their
interest is in maximizing profit and removing all impediments to such
profit by lowering or removing “non-tariff barriers to trade.” In
common language this includes local and state regulations such as food
safety and environmental laws, labor rights and other measures
designed to protect and enhance quality of life. The SPP aims to reach
its goal of economic growth by facilitating the flow of goods and
capital, while ignoring the needs of people and communities. This
translates to a further expansion of the neo-liberal agenda manifested
through free trade agreements such as NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, except that
approval from Congress is neither sought nor required. These trade
agreements, while boosting investment and exports, have failed the
vast majority of citizens in participating countries. NAFTA’s impacts
have been well documented: the loss of over a million decent US
manufacturing jobs to exploitative Mexican factories, the decimation
of Mexico’s small-scale agriculture and subsequent rise in migration,
the subordination of environmental law to investment rules, and the
annulling of consumer protections in the name of corporate
protections. After 14 years of such devastating legacy, the SPP now
proposes to move even further in the same direction. Meanwhile, the
security side of the agreement seeks to “develop a common security
strategy” and to create a common security perimeter for North
America. The recent agreement between the U.S. and Canadian
militaries (without Congressional approval) to allow cross-border,
domestic military action can be viewed as integral to the SPP. In
addition, the announcement last fall of the Merida Initiative, a U.S.
program to provide $1.4 billion in training, intelligence and military
aircraft to Mexico has been linked to SPP by critics of the
agreement. Though not officially a part of SPP, it is a manifestation
of the “deep integration” that is the core of the SPP strategy.
Through implementation of the SPP, the U.S. is also exporting its War
on Terror to Canada and Mexico through agreements on the sharing of
intelligence, airline passenger lists, border surveillance programs
and the further militarization of the border between the U.S. and
Mexico-leading to erosion of civil liberties. As New Orleans prepares
to host the SPP summit, recent changes in the city foretell the SPP’s
security objectives. In a move that could only be described as
opportunistic the disaster resulting from Katrina is being used to
alter the character and demographic makeup of New Orleans. The city
has been highly militarized, with both National Guard and private
military firms providing “security.” Documented cases of abuse and
violence directed at residents of the city by these “security”
providers show that the interest is not in protecting the residents,
but in “securing” the city for developers. In this respect New
Orleans is the perfect backdrop for the SPP summit, put forth as a
model for the future of North America. Facing a worrisome pact pushed
forward in secrecy, it is time for Congress to halt this undemocratic
approach and establish a process based on openness, accountability,
and the participation of civil society. While civil society may be
kept away from the SPP summit, their voices will still be heard in New
Orleans at the People’s Summit. This gathering of residents,
activists and other concerned people will link the Gulf Coast struggle
to the fight for the survival of communities in Mexico, Canada and the
rest of the United States.

Signed by the following members of U.S. civil society,
Alliance for Democracy
Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART)
APEN (Asian Pacific Environmental Network)
ASOCOL (Association for the Sovereignty of Colombia)
Campaign for Labor Rights
Center of Concern
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador)
Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras
Democratic Socialists of America
Fellowship of Reconciliation Task Force on Latin America and the
Caribbean
Global Exchange
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC)
National Network for Immigrant Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
New York CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador)
NYC People’s Referendum on Free Trade
Nicaragua Network
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee
Portland Jobs with Justice
Quixote Center
SHARE Foundation: Building a New El Salvador Today
United Church of Christ
Vermont Workers’ Center
Witness for Peace

For additional information regarding the SPP please contact Jon Hunt
at 202.550.7025 (cell) or Kathy Ozer at 202.543.5675 or 202.421.4544
(cell)

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