The battle over the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is heating up. It was approved last May by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, together with the presidents of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua but still needs to pass the US Congress. CAFTA  is based on the same failed neoliberal economic model as NAFTA. If CAFTA passes, it will be another step toward the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which would go far beyond NAFTA in its scope and power.

Why should you oppose CAFTA? CAFTA increases the power of multinational corporations, decreases the power of national and local governments, and does not contain any meanfully enforceable worker or environmental protections. Experience with NAFTA has shown this sort of trade agreement pits workers against each other in a race to the bottom of labor and environmental standards. I’ve attached a Word file of some key points from the Ohio Conference on Fair Trade. These will be good points to bring up in calls or letters to Congress. For more detailed info, see

The Bush Administration will not push a vote on CAFTA if they do not think they have enough support to pass it through the House and Senate. Right now the battle is to solidify opposition in the US House of Representatives. CAFTA could be brought to a vote as early as March, so we need to contact members of Congress now. In Ohio, the focus is on four Republican Representatives considered swing votes on CAFTA. These Representatives are

Steven LaTourette- District 14
In the far NE corner of Ohio and includes Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga counties, a little bit of Cuyahoga county, the northern bits of Portage and Trumbell counties, and the northeast corner of Summit County

Bob Ney- District 18
Carroll, Harrison, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Knox, Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan, Hocking, Vinton, Jackson, and parts of Ross, Licking, Belmont and Athens counties.

Paul Gillmor- District 5
NW Ohio and includes Williams, Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Van Wert, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Huron, and Crawford Counties, and parts of Lucas, Mercer, Ashland and Wyandot counties

Ralph Regula- District 16
Stark, Wayne, and parts of Ashland and Medina counties

If you have residence in one of the above districts, your Representative needs to hear your opposition to CAFTA! Tell him to publicly state his opposition to CAFTA and tell him soon! **Call the Capitol switchboard toll free 1-800-839-5276 or get contact info at

Phone calls are more effective than email, but if you don’t have time to call you can send this letter…

Don’t know who your Representative is? You can find out quickly by entering your zip code at If you don’t know your full zip code (+4) you can find that info here… .

If you live in a different district, we still need to tell Senator Dewine

and Senator Voinovich that we oppose CAFTA.