Reject CAFTA

From Holden:

CAFTA will be bad for workers. The Bush assministration knows that, and they are lying about it.

The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration’s new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers’ rights. The agency dismissed the conclusions as inaccurate and biased, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

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The studies’ conclusions contrast with the administration’s arguments that Central American countries have made enough progress on such issues to warrant a free-trade deal with the United States.

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Hoping to lure enough Democratic votes to win passages, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman earlier this month promised to spend money and arrange an international conference to ensure “the best agreement ever negotiated by the United States on labor rights.”

But behind the scenes, the administration began as early as spring 2004 to block the reports’ public release.

The Labor 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 couldn’t discuss the studies with outsiders.