NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 9, 2005

If for no other reasons, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) should be ratified because it will improve America's national security -- and its defeat would significantly and adversely affect our security interests in the region and beyond, according to the Center for Security Policy (CSP).

In particular, the CAFTA nations (the five Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica plus the Dominican Republic):

  • Are strong proponents of continuing the inter-American security system that has been in place since the 1940s; Mexico, the greatest beneficiary of NAFTA, has been trying to undermine that system both prior to and since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Immediately announced solidarity with the United States after 9/11; Mexico under President Vicente Fox and his Marxist then-foreign minister was one of the last countries to express condolences to the United States, waiting a full two weeks after 9/11 to show official opposition to the terrorist attacks.
  • Sent military forces into Iraq -- the only countries in Latin America to do so; among the most experienced armies in the world at detecting and deactivating land mines, the armies of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Nominated a pro-U.S. candidate to become secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), the 57 year-old intergovernmental hemispheric collective security organization that includes all governments in the Americas (except Cuba).

Failure to ratify CAFTA would be seen as another case of the United States punishing its friends and benefiting its foes. The Central American countries, El Salvador in particular, have been small but staunch U.S. allies in a range of national security areas - notably, in matters where like Mexico and Chile have not, says the CSP.

Source: "The national security case for C.A.F.T.A." Center for Security Policy, Decision Brief No. 05-D 26, June 2, 2005.


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