President Bush is working overtime to get the Central American Free Trade Agreement passed. Today he was using the same basic talking points, particularly the claim that CAFTA “would open up the market of 44 million consumers to U.S. businesses, U.S. farms, and U.S. manufacturers.” But the combined economies of the six other CAFTA nations “only equal that of New Haven, Conn.” and “account for barely one percent of U.S. trade.” With CAFTA, President Bush is trading American jobs and Central American human dignity for more corporate profits. Overall, CAFTA fails at being smart trade policy. Maybe that’s why the lobbying effort to get CAFTA passed is starting to show its desperation:
A political group working for the passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has raised the ire of U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, who claims that the organization has been making harassing calls to his constituents.
Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, says his office recently was inundated with hundreds of calls from constituents who told his staff that they received an automated message about the benefits of CAFTA. They were then prompted to “Press 1 for more information.”
Those who did were routed to Gonzalez’ office, even though they were never asked if they wanted to be put in contact with him.
About 80 percent of the calls received by Gonzalez’ office were from people who did not know who they were calling, why they were transferred or whether the phone call would cost them money. For the most part, they were not interested in the congressman’s position on CAFTA, according to Gonzalez.
“It’s unfortunate … that someone, in an overzealous effort to influence my position on a particular issue, has resorted to invading people’s privacy, providing misinformation, and generating confusing phone calls,” Gonzalez says.
“The individuals or organizations generating these counterproductive calls are not achieving their goals, but more importantly, they are making it clear that this type of activity must be better regulated and that people need to know who is calling them at home and asking them to do things under false pretenses,” he adds.