Don’t join FTAA

Dear Mr. President

This letter is addressed to you by persons who hold you in esteem, admire your political trajectory and wish to give you total support so that you can live up to the enormous hopes that your victory has awakened in the Brazilian people, 

Aware of the economic-financial situation of the country, we have a clear perception of the internal and external difficulties that have led the government to take measures restricting spending and raising taxes. We know also that globalization has provoked substantial changes in the world economy and that it will be very difficult to develop the country without participating in some way in the international financial community. 

 Nevertheless, these constraints cannot mean the renunciation of our sovereignty.  

 Two measures are particularly worrisome in relationship to this matter:  the negotiations on the FTAA and the intended autonomy of the Central Bank. 

 The first, as some of us have already argued in extensive and repeated pleadings, will expose our industrial, agricultural, and service producers to absolutely unequal competition, whose primary consequence will be an even greater de-nationalizing of our productive space.  And by its reach that surpasses commercial agreements, but involves agriculture, investments, state purchases, currency, and services, leaves clear the intention of the U.S. Government to re-colonize the continent in accord with its interests. 

 The second involves handing over control of our currency to external capital and therefore the renunciation of the national project. It cannot be hidden that with the most dynamic sectors of our economy in the hands of foreign corporations, the autonomy of the Central Bank means transferring to them the  power to set the value of our currency. 

 For these reasons, we made the decision to send you this letter. In our understanding, the FTAA as well as the autonomy of the Central Bank are non-negotiable matters, given that they involve the untouchability of the nation’s sovereignty.  A decision of such magnitude must made by the owner of this sovereignty–the Brazilian people. Thus, each Brazilian man and woman must be called on to have their say about both questions in a plebiscite convoked for this express goal.  

 The plebiscite would be the occasion for a great national debate about the two topics, thus laying the groundwork for a truly democratic decision.

 We are convinced that a firm attitude of Brazil will change the posture of the forces that are pressuring us and will open up a path so that we can build, in an autonomous way, the paths that are most appropriate for our development.

 However, if this does not happen, and the government finds itself placed in the situation of breaking with the forces that are pressuring it, please believe, Mr. President, that the retaliation will not be insupportable. Our economy is already sufficiently strong to resist them and our people sufficiently politicized to give you the necessary support for this confrontation. 
                                                             Brazil, March 2003

Alfredo Bosi. Literary critic and member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters
Ana Maria Freire, educator, widow of Paulo Freire
Ana Maria Castro, educator, daughter of Josue de Castro
Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira, geographer from University of São Paulo
Augusto Boal, theater director
Benedito Mariano, researcher
Bernardete de Oliveira, anthropologist from State University of São Paulo
Carlos Nelson Coutinho, political scientist and philosopher
Chico Buarque, composer and writer
Dom Demetrio Valentini, bishop
Dom Paulo Arns, cardinal
Dom Pedro Casaldaliga, bishop
Dom Tomas Balduino, bishop
Emir Sader, political scientist
Fabio Konder Comparato, jurist
Fernando Morais, writer
Francisco de Oliveira, social scientist
Haroldo Campos, poet and translator
Joanna Fomm, actress
Leonardo Boff, theologian, philosopher, and writer
Luis Fernando Verissimo, writer
Margarida Genovois, human rights activist
Maria Adelia de Souza, geographer, researcher with Miltom Santos
Manuel Correia de Andrade, geographer, specialist in Northeast Brazil
Marilena Chauí, philosopher
Nilo Batista, jurist
Pastor Ervino Schmidt, pastor of the Lutheran Church and director of National Council of Christian Churches
Plínio Arruda Sampaio, consultant to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on agrarian questions, periodical director
Oscar Niemeyer, architect
Ricardo Antunes, political scientist
Sergio Haddad, educator and president of the Brazilian Association of NGOs
Sergio Ferolla, brigadier-general
Tatau Godinho, feminist
Valton Miranda, psychiatrist

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