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 [email protected]

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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

One comment

  1. 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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