UUs mobilize in Miami for FTAA protests
About eighty Unitarian Universalists came from around the country to join a protest in November 2003 at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in Miami.
The proposed FTAA would be an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It would create a trade zone covering thirty-four countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. Opponents believe it would limit the ability of governments to provide public services, protect natural resources, and set standards, giving transnational corporations more control over these areas.
Those who participated in the protest included the Rev. John Gilmore, co-director of UUs for a Just Economic Community, the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, senior minister, and Kate Lore, social justice director, of the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon.
“Most of the things we were concerned about were taken off the table,” Lore said of the talks. “In that way it was a great victory for the Latin American countries. The bad news was that we encountered a whole new approach to political dissent.”
She said that there were four police officers for every protester. “They were all in riot gear, with helicopters and tanks. We were stopped, searched, and harassed.”
Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union are investigating apparent violations of civil rights.For information on FTAA, contact Jobs with Justice (www.jwj.org), the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (www.asje.org), and UUs for a Just Economic Community (www.uujec.net).