¿Libre comercio o regalos para los poderosos?

En momentos que el Congreso de los Estados Unidos comienza a debatir el Tratado de libre comercio con Centroamérica y República Dominicana (DR-CAFTA), promete desarrollarse una titánica lucha entre las fuerzas del libre comercio y el proteccionismo. Sin embargo, no debe permitirse que este debate oculte la verdad que hay tras el tratado: el DR-CAFTA es más una petición de intereses especiales que un acuerdo de libre comercio. Se las arregla simultáneamente para desplumar a los habitantes de seis países pobres y exponer a los trabajadores estadounidenses a graves perjuicios.

No hay duda de que un mayor nivel de comercio tiene un gran potencial en cuanto al fomento del desarrollo y la democracia. No obstante, las reglas comerciales estipuladas en el DR-CAFTA promueven utilidades para unos cuantos a costa del bienestar de la mayoría. Irónicamente, el pacto incluso limita la competencia de mercado para proteger poderosos intereses especiales, socavando los principios básicos del libre comercio.

Considérense los productos farmacéuticos: para las farmacéuticas estadounidenses, este tratado amplía el periodo de tiempo durante el cual los productos farmacéuticos de marca tienen acceso exclusivo a los mercados, posponiendo la entrada de medicamentos genéricos y, por ende, limitando la competencia. Para los centroamericanos, el costo de los medicamentos se irá a las nubes, asfixiando los presupuestos y aniquilando la atención de salud. El resultado puede ser una sentencia de muerte para muchas personas.

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