The July 6 front-page article "CAFTA Reflects Democrats' Shift From Trade Bills" suggested that opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement is "a long, slow erosion of Democratic support for trade legislation." But CAFTA is a bad deal for all parties, and it has drawn opposition from many supporters of free trade.

While the article highlighted problems with labor and environmental protections, it did not discuss an egregious provision of CAFTA: the intellectual property protection for brand-name pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical industry wrote this provision to extend its monopolies to Central American nations, where people barely have enough money to buy generic drugs. With this provision, CAFTA would give the most profitable industry on the planet an additional five years to exploit the sick to maximize profits. This provision will raise the price of drugs for CAFTA-country residents and could limit these countries' abilities to provide more affordable generic drugs during public health emergencies.

The article suggested that opposition to CAFTA is a hard choice for many Democrats. Not so; the choice is clear. Democrats support labor rights, environmental standards and affordable medications for all citizens. CAFTA does nothing to promote these values, making a no vote on CAFTA the obvious choice.


U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)