NAFTA, Canada and Galeano

From the life and work of NAFTA over its first ten years, consider just a few of the revealing indications of what awaits us if the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) comes into being, if so-called free trade, humiliating and sovereign, is extended throughout the Americas.

In 1996, the government of Canada prohibited the sale of neurotoxin dangerous to human life: It was an additive to gasoline manufactured by the U.S. firm Ethyl. This poison, prohibited in the United States, was sold in Canada. Ethyl reacted by suing the Canadian government for damaging its reputation by banning this product and for "expropriation." Canada's lawyers warned their government that the jig was up, there was nothing to be done. Under NAFTA, corporations rule. In mid-1998, the Canadian government lifted the ban, paid Ethyl an indemnification of $13 million, and sais it was sorry.

In 1995, another US company, Metalclad, couldn't reopen a toxic watse dump in the mexican state of San Luis Potosi'. With machetes in hand, the people prevented the company from continuing to poison the land and the water table. Metalclad sued the Mexican government for this act of "expropriation." Because of provisions contained in NAFTA, the company received an indemnity of $17 million.
written by Eduardo Galeano
from the April edition of The Progressive



A Tidy Mexican Divorce

My paintings should be translated into spanish. I don't know how the canvas was made nor which plant my blue came from and I am not made of corn like I should be. I should be hunted, be-headed like dandelions (from the head not the root). Then, after seeing the landscapes and deformities, they should be translated back into english by Gregory Rabassa who will bury my work in Latin American earth where it can be harvested and sown into untouched canvas that is be ready to be painted on.