Saturday, November 8, 2003

Free Trade Alliance of the Americas

The Free Trade Alliance of the Americas is scheduled to take place in Miami from November 17-21. Like the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, a large variety of groups from labor unions to “anarchists” are planning to protest the meetings and, according to press reports, do anything to disrupt the proceedings. I work in an office in downtown Miami that is about twenty blocks north of the meeting site, but just in case, the Miami-Dade County School Board has decided to close its downtown operations and board up the two School Board Administration buildings. (Apparently millions of nuts and bolts have been purchased by some groups to use as projectiles.) The school board employees have been offered the choice of taking the four days off as vacation or personal time, or being re-assigned to offices or school sites outside of the downtown area.

I have no strong views in the area of “Free Trade” – I frankly don’t know enough about it to form an opinion. I’d welcome some input on it from both sides, and as we get closer to the meeting, I’ll see what I can link from informed sites. I’ll also try to give you a day-to-day report on what happens. I have elected to be re-assigned to another office rather than take the time off (not that I’m so nobly dedicated… well, I am, but I also need to save my vacation time). So, let’s hear some discussion about FTAA, and stay tuned.