As Sarah Anderson explains in a Nation web report, the outcome of the Miami trade talks represents a major failure for the Bush Administration. After nine years of insisting that all thirty-four countries must sign on to a comprehensive agreement or else be denied critical market access, the US team conceded to pressure from Brazil and other nations and significantly hollowed out the FTAA in order to get a deal done.
Meanwhile, activists have been doing their best to build a movement for social change, which hasn't been easy in Miami. Thousands of uniformed officers, drawn from a total of forty different law enforcement agencies, aggressively intimidated activists throughout the week. On Thursday, the police refused access to downtown Miami to nearly ninety buses carrying retirees who were there to participate in the permitted march and rally.
For the first three days leading up to the summit, as Anderson reports, the dozens of teach-ins held throughout downtown Miami were regularly surrounded by cops on boats, bikes and horses, which (no joke) sport their own riot helmets with plexiglass face-shields. And on Thursday, police in riot gear fired rubber bullets and canisters of chemical spray at thousands of peaceful demonstrators gathered in the shadow of downtown skyscrapers.
By the end of the week, medics for the direct action protesters reported more than 100 injuries from tear gas and rubber bullets fired by the police while law enforcement agencies reported at least 141 arrests.
FTAA Protesters Describe Police State Tactics by Maya Bell, The Orlando Sentinel, November 21.
Democracy Now! Special Report: Mayhem in Miami, November 21
Police Gas Miami Trade Protestors by Michael Christie, Reuters, November 20
Protesters Tell A Different Tale of Free Trade by John Thor-Dahlburg, Los Angeles Times, November 20
Trade Talks Harmful to Health by Gustavo Gonzalez, Inter-American Press Service, November 20
FTAA/Miami: Consider the EU by Sarah Anderson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 19
Click here to sign the Free Press petition to stop the FTAA. The petition will be delivered to Congress and US Trade Representatives.