Ten Years After the Defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) – Lessons for Current Struggles

November 5, 2015

Aldo Orellana López
Thomas McDonagh
Latin America – in movement

At the 4th Summit of the Americas 10 years ago in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas was pronounced dead and buried. Today, 10 years on, the Democracy Center has interviewed three prominent social leaders who successfully fought, alongside hundreds of activists and organizations from across the continent, against what was intended to be the world’s largest free trade area and the greatest corporate offensive in modern history.

Our interviewees are all from organizations that are members of the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA): Alberto Arroyo from the Mexican Free Trade Action NetworkPaulina Muñoz from Ecuador Decides; and Enrique Daza from the Colombian Free Trade Action Network who was also responsible for the secretariat of the HSA.

The aim of our interviews has been to gather as many lessons as possible, not only in relation to the victory against the FTAA but also from subsequent developments in the region. We critically explore the corporate counter-offensive in the Americas and worldwide and the evolving role of social movements in light of these developments. Finally, we present a series of reflections on the fight against the system globally and on the evolution of the international social movement.

Just as the FTAA was a crossroads, we are currently at another crossroads. We recently saw the announcement of the end of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and the US and EU are pushing hard to finalise the TTIP and other major trade and investment deals. The weeks and months to come will determine whether the current free trade regime can be consolidated at global level, or whether it will once again fail thanks to social movement mobilisation.

Our overarching aim is to contribute to the strategic thinking for these current struggles in the Americas, Europe and the rest of the world.

-read the entire report