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June 29, 2005

More Bush Lies: Suppressed CAFTA Labor Rights Report

Well if they lie about the reasons to go to war, we shouldn't be surprised if they lie about trade agreements:

The Labor Department worked for more than a year to maintain secrecy for studies that were critical of working conditions in Central America, the region the Bush administration wants in a new trade pact...The government-paid studies concluded that countries proposed for free-trade status have poor working environments and fail to protect workers' rights...

Behind the scenes, the Labor Department began as early as spring 2004 to block public release of the country-by-country reports.

The department instructed its contractor to remove the reports from its Web site, ordered it to retrieve paper copies before they became public, banned release of new information from the reports, and even told the contractor it could not discuss the studies with outsiders.

This is part of a pattern of Bush Administration dishonesty.  It's not enough to disagree with a report's conclusions.  They have to suppress the information, so that the public doesn't even have alternative information to evaluate the policy.

The contractor, the International Labor Rights Fund, has finally gotten the reports released and you can read them here.

As the ILRF argues, sugar interests in the United States may get bought off in any deal over CAFTA, but "Central American sugar workers will have no new alternatives to relieve them of the burden of the  daily violations they face, as described in these reports."  Read the reports and understand why a trade deal without labor rights is just a deal to reward multinational corporations who steal the labor of workers in developing nations, not a help to those workers.

Posted by Nathan at June 29, 2005 02:26 PM