Why the Discomfort Over Free Trade
If that title had a question, the answer would be VERY simple (pardon the translation):
President of the Republic,
Minister of the Presidency
From: Kevin Casas, Fernando Sanchez
Date: July 29, 2007
Subject: Some urgent actions to trigger the YES campaign to NAFTA
Dear Oscar gift and Don Rodrigo:
After the long conversation on Friday, 27, after participating in a discussion on the FTA in San Isidro de Heredia, activity which was quite revealing, we have decided to bring this memorandum, which points out some actions that we think suitable to activate as soon as possible campaign in favor of NAFTA. Obviously, they are not the only ones that should be done, but we think are important.
1. Establish a committee strategy YES campaign
This is perhaps the most urgent of all. At the moment there is no clear guidance on what to do to win, how and with whom. But, even worse, there is no established mechanism to make such decisions. What you need, half is pure operational structure and pure response tactics, not strategy. That vacuum has been filled with decisions (or lack thereof) taken by the media group, which is clearly insufficient. It is essential that the President and Minister of the Presidency are part of that committee.
2. Building a social coalition in favor of NAFTA
Here transcribe what one of us wrote almost 3 years ago in a memorandum addressed to Marco Vinicio Ruiz: "The debate is not going to win the government nor employers are going to win, but it can win a coalition. One of the serious mistakes they have committed sectors favorable to NAFTA has been delegated his defense in the negotiators of the agreement, and generally in government. Even before the recent scandals that have undermined confidence in the political establishment, the levels of governance of the government were already very low and likely to confer legitimacy to a project as controversial. At this point nobody believes a word the government nor the politicians and thus would be crazy delegating the role of defending the treaty. Form a coalition and make the defense of NAFTA is a collective work is crucial not only to overcome the task of legitimacy, but to prevent the discussion acknowledged the same imbalance that was widely visible during the conflict in the "combo" in 2000 , When the organization of the opponents had no counterweight to the voice of the government. It is vital to demonstrate that in the discussion on the FTA, there are two large blocks of interest, and that means that the sectors that are interest-friendly nothing so intense and widespread as those of opponents, must be organized and articulated. This is essential if the discussion on the FTA does not run with the same sort of "combo". "
The importance of this point can not be ignored. The campaign on the FTA is becoming what they never should have left it to become: a struggle between rich and poor, and between people and government. The coalition that we have against is formidable: universities, churches, unions, environmental groups, and so on. And on the other side, in favor of NAFTA, only the government, and mean, the big businessmen. So there is no way to win. It is urgent to put into the campaign, at least for small employers, Solidarist and to what might be cooperative. And when we get into the campaign is simply that "appear" across the side faces of some of their leaders. Obviously, if these leaders can also effectively control some of these social movements, since so much the better. True, in solidarity, in particular, there is no strong national leadership. If so will have to create them now. We have to give it a presence in some ways faces of the same solidarity and this will become leaders. Who was Eugenio Trejos in the country 6 months ago? It is the exposure in the media that it has become a national leader.
3. Managing a recess in the Legislature
The campaign needs, urgently, presence in all communities in the country. Issuing a recess in the Assembly is key to getting our Members, which are more than the opposition and did not find any limitation to campaign-to communities, to organize the campaign "to walk". It is obvious that this can have some cost to the advance of the legislative agenda, but at the moment this is a problem of third order. The first thing is obviously to win the referendum. In any case, this time in the legislative agenda is not walk due to lack of quorum. That leaves us in the worst of all worlds: the press makes to PLN responsible for the failure of a quorum, while the opposition (and even many of our "allies") is not seen as responsible and go campaign finances. Moreover, the continuation of negotiations in legislative seat exposes us to constant blackmail from our "allies" of legislation, ending featured in the campaign of another.
4. Formalize an alliance with the mayors of municipalities, particularly those of PLN
This is crucial and for similar reasons as above: we need presence throughout the country. There is a letter signed by 72 mayors who is not at all negligible. In it, offering his support for the FTA, asking, is entirely as expected, some things in return. The contents of the letter has elements disposable, others entirely negotiable and others frankly positive for the government (for example, that offer explicit support for tax reform). It is vital to adequately respond to that letter, responding quickly and respond in a large public event.
But you have to do more, particularly with the 59 mayors of the PLN. We have to make them responsible for the campaign in each canton and pass, with all crudeness, a very simple idea: that the mayor does not win his canton on Oct. 7 will not receive a five government in the coming 3 years. The same reasoning can be applied to the aldermen, who may be responsible for specific districts. In the latter case we must remind them of their personal aspirations: to win the referendum depends on having real possibilities for aldermen remain or become mayors or deputies. This is not just because the performance of the PLN in the next election will be greatly affected by the outcome of the referendum, but because this election is going to help that the higher authorities of the PLN calibrated wooden leader who has and who does not. Many local leaders are not getting in the campaign to not "burn" before the next election. The reasoning has to be exactly the opposite: the failure to get a full, it will "burn".
What is at the basis of this is a matter of deep and important: it is urgent to expand the circle of people who are "playing hide 'in this referendum. At the moment there among our allies, within and outside the PLN-a general attitude of indolence, as if they think that the only one affected by a defeat would be the president. It is vital that they understand that they are going to come out directly and seriously harmed.
5. PLN to formalize
To build the social coalition said before we left, unfortunately, very short time. What we have in the Hand is something far less drinking, but useful: a political coalition. And that means putting squarely to PLN, which is by far the most important player in that coalition. With the exception of the fraction of legislation, until now the role of the organs of the PLN in support of NAFTA has been too restrained. Not a single official of the PLN in favor of NAFTA, nor a clear direction toward the party structure. That has created great confusion in the leadership, which is well aware, moreover, that there is a part of the party that is against the FTA. The formal structure of the PLN (Directors, Executive Committee) has to come out unequivocally speaking in defense of NAFTA, on the understanding that one of the biggest winners or losers in the referendum will be the PLN.
6. Structuring and launch massive campaign in media
Beyond what can be done in communities and businesses, is so little time that remains, that we should not be any decency in saturating the media with advertising. And precisely because of the short time, it is imperative to conduct the campaign in two directions:
1) to derail the notion that this is a struggle of rich against poor. This requires very well choose the faces of the mass communication and use it almost exclusively workers and small businessmen.
We also need a lot subirle the decibels and the presence of media and discursive to the government's social agenda.
2) Stimulate fear. That fear is four types:
I. Fear in the loss of employment. Here it seems highly recommended intensive use testimonials from people very easily and in a precarious situation, which may lose jobs or have already lost as a result of non-approval of NAFTA. This also is vital to reinforce the idea that this is not a struggle of rich against poor. Similarly, it is possible that in specific regions have a great impact visibility specific cases of companies that have delayed investments, which have cut shifts or who are considering leaving the country for non-approval of NAFTA.
II. Fear of attack on democratic institutions. YES is crucial in making the equivalent to democracy and the institutions (that is what it said Eduardo Ulibarri, we must go to the filling of a YES values and the content of NO in the equivalent of violence and disloyalty to democracy) Here's something very important: this campaign already ceased to be rational and, consequently, on the contents of the FTA. Thus, the defense of democracy is the only recourse we have left to mobilize the emotion of the people who are in favor of NAFTA. At this time the people who are in favor not only has no motivation whatsoever, but who feel intimidated by the motivation that shows the people of NO. We must understand one thing: no one is willing to "die" by free trade, but maybe yes for democracy. We have to give a motivational ethics and not only instrumental to it.
III. Fear of foreign interference in the NO. We have to scrub all around the connection of NO with Fidel, Chavez and Ortega, in fairly strident terms. It is possible that this type of campaign may inconvenience to some people, but it is almost certain that can have significant impact to people simpler, which is where we have the most serious problems.
IV. Fear of the effect of a triumph of NO on the government. All surveys detected a significant degree of satisfaction with the President and the Government. Many people simply did not make the connection that a triumph of NO in the referendum, would leave the government in a precarious position, with totally reduced their effectiveness, and the country in a situation of ungovernability. This connection must be induce. This is an argument that can only work for certain sectors, but it can be very effective to sow doubt. There are three questions that we must planted in the minds of the people, that can make them tiemble fingers are considering whether to vote for the NO:
l. Are they willing to jeopardize economic stability, which almost everybody recognizes as an achievement of the government?
2. Are they prepared to return to the days of Abel, if not ruled anybody, there was no sense of direction and not anything happening in the country?
3. Have you thought about who is going to send in the country if he wins the NO? (Answer induced to the question: will send Albino, Merino, Carazo, etc.).
It is also very important to strengthen the presence on the radio (both national and local) and in rural tracts, where we have major problems. Put into operation batteries in all programs of opinion and improve the publicity of government in a series of radio programs led by people who had every disposition to help the government (eg Javier Rojas, Jaime Pena, etc.).. If the presence of each other on radio does not improve dramatically, this will manifest itself in our weakness in the rural areas. It is quite possible that the problems we have in rural areas have less to do with the merits of the campaign (items unattended or poorly served by this) and more with the way people are reported in rural areas, where the radio is a very powerful medium.
7. Generate large amount of printed documentation on the FTA and on the opposition, suitable for distributed
A serious problem that we have those who are doing proselytizing in favor of the FTA is the total absence of documentation for easy digestion, which can move en masse. As is known, this is a point that has not developed particularly well. At this time the country had wallpaper with ruffles. The documentation must be done is threefold:
1) to clarify the language very simple, some of the most insidious arguments against the FTA (medicine, water, cell phones, etc.).. As part of this, it's very important that some key institutions (eg ICE, CCSS, y, MTSS) generated flyers officially respond in very blunt terms that the flyers are being distributed in their same facilities by the unions of the institutions. This is information leaflets, which can not in any way, ask for support for the FTA (that due to the resolution of the TSE).
2) explaining the effects of a rejection of the FTA on sectors or specific aspects (eg slides of the presentation that uses Jorge Woodbridge);
3) to sow tares on the leaders, motives, methods, financing and international linkages of NO.
8. Organize a systematic program of visits to companies by senior government officials
At this time, the area of proselytizing easier to exploit and that gives us the best chance is by far the business. There's more than one million workers. We need a systematic effort to organize visits to the country's largest companies, with talks in favor of YES given by senior people and with documentation in hand. Any efforts to proselytize is potentially as effective as this. Ideally, this includes five steps:
1) Provide information on what and where are the larger firms;
2) That the bell contact employers to grant a space to chat;
3) That the company immediately sent a letter to the Ministry of Planning requesting that the government will send a representative to talk about the national development plan or vision of the future of the country or something like that (that to cover the backs of the face TSE);
4) Build a program of visits to companies for at least 30 heads of government;
5) The chief visited the company (in some cases accompanied by the deputy of the area) and leaves documentation.
If 30 officers visited 10 companies per week, it will be possible to cover almost 2500 companies in the next 8 weeks. We must give emphasis to the larger and targeted for export. What is important, however, is to ensure that the heads of government and the deputies not to drive platform with the President. This is an unjustifiable waste of time and effort.
9. Organize a massive act of force to give motivation to Campaign
There is great motivation among those who are in favor of NAFTA, disoriented by the absence of a bell, and in many cases, fear of expressing opinions. We have to motivate supporters of the YES, make them feel that the campaign is doing things that are not alone, that we are many. It is advisable to arrange a public event or a massive festival (it could be a march, but there almost always have problems). But people have to be accompanied and motivated.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Why the Discomfort Over Free Trade