“Take off your riot gear, there ain’t no riot here.”
What really happened in Miami last week? Aside from the brutal repression of protesters with over $8 million in taxpayer dollars, what happened inside the meeting was more important: FTAA, as envisioned by the Bush administration, failed.
“… And yet, despite the Bush brothers’ best efforts, the dream of a hemisphere united into a single free-market economy died last week. It was killed not by demonstrators in Miami, but by the populations of Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia, which have let their politicians know that if they sign away any more power to foreign multinationals, they may as well not come home.
The Brazilians brokered a compromise that makes the agreement a pick-and-choose affair, allowing governments to sign on to the parts they like and refuse the ones they don’t. Washington will, of course, continue to try to bully individual countries and groups of nations into sweeping trade contracts on the model of the North American free-trade agreement, but there will be no single, unified deal.
Our goal was to drown you out,” one Miami-Dade police officer explained to me, and that’s exactly what they did. Small, peaceful demonstrations were attacked with extreme force; organizations were infiltrated by undercover officers who then used stun guns on activists; busses filled with union members were prevented from joining permitted marches; dozens of young faces were smashed into concrete and beaten bloody with batons; human rights activists had guns pointed at their heads at military-style checkpoints.”