Root Cause: CAFTA has contributed to the influx of immigrants at the US border over the past 15 years

August 7, 2019 by epoetus



We talk about the sudden spike of immigrants coming from “The Triangle” countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador as if it is some inexplicable random phenomena or due to the everpresent chronic political corruption of these countries – as if the difference between a politician and a rapist, drug dealing gangster is merely a matter of optics. Passed as a trade agreement between the US, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic in 2004, CAFTA has had a dramatically negative impact on the economies of these nations.  Maybe the time has come to hold our politicians and the media accountable for ignoring the ongoing tragedy of CAFTA.

The labor rights sections of CAFTA have enabled increased violence. Dozens of labor union workers have been assassinated while trying to protect workers from wage theft.

CAFTA has also led to increased poverty:
• Dumping of US products destroyed the local farm businesses and turned these countries into importers of farm goods
• Pharmaceutical companies now receive monopoly style protection from the investor dispute mechanism and have made essential medicines more expensive
• Which led to the industrialization of farming of those abandoned farms by large multi-national agribusiness
• Which in turn led to poor working conditions, higher unemployment and negative impacts to the environment on these industrial farms and in the cities where many rural people get displaced – all enabled by CAFTA because the offending multi-national corporations are protected by the investor dispute mechanism


The best word for the policies implemented by CAFTA is: colonization.

More recently the impacts of climate change have impacted some of the remaining local farming regions.

Truth Sandwich

CAFTA left people with migration as the only remaining escape valve to their suffering, and that flow continues. In light of this, does it feel cruel and inhumane to force desperate people back to the places they’ve fled? Our President wants to call them criminals, but the reality is that they are fleeing inhumane conditions which the United States created. Why don’t we look at our own contribution to the suffering that trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA have caused in the people of these countries? Maybe it is time to undo these trade agreements and build fair, and humane agreements that focus on helping people prosper, instead of giving legal cover to corporate exploitation.  Wouldn’t you like to see a politician, maybe one of our Presidential candidates, “go there” during a press conference or a debate?  Wouldn’t it be a relief if the mainstream media sincerely tried to understand why people are fleeing these countries?  Maybe it is time to hold those people accountable.

Public Citizen 2018


2014 article on CAFTA

Impact of CAFTA

10 years after CAFTA
Three years after
CAFTA two years after





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