Monday, November 10, 2003
FTAA: Miami Prepares for FTAA Crowd Control
The Free Trade Area of the Americas has convened in many cities around the world. Along with their discussions of corporate globalization are the protestors that gather on a variety fronts-- more often than not resulting in violent protests. The arrival of the FTAA in Miami will certainly call for extra Police Enforcement. 7 News' Charles Billi has this snapshot of some of the issues activists have with the FTAA and what the event could mean in regards to security concerns for the city.
MIAMI -- People taking to the streets of several major cities to protest a series of trade talks, and now massive crowds may protest here in Miami.
Protesters - taking to the streets from Seattle, to Philadelphia to -- most recently -- Cancun, Mexico.
Confronted by cops...In an act of defiance saying ‘No’ to globalization.
Now - as proponents of free trade for the Americas prepare to meet in Miami - the question is... Will the opponents do the same.
So - why are so many - so angry - about what some members of both political parties say is a good thing.
Fred Frost of the AFL-CIO says, "We've lost approximately 800-thousand good jobs in America that have gone overseas."
But supporters say - it's about doing what's best for the economy.
"It's a huge opportunity," saysChuck Cobb, Chairman of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. "We will have three times the lawyers and accountants and management consulting firms and import/export people and our economy will double or triple."
But tell that to protesters who say they're being shut out.
AT an earlier meeting on free trade slams its doors on concerned protestors one man points out,"and they're locking the doors on us, the FTAA is closing the doors... This is what democracy looks like."
"We're low income families fighting," says activistStephanie Winfield, "fighting for our rights, and we can't even be heard."
But those behind the FTAA say their concerns could be real.
"It's possible you could lose your job," says Cobb "But, you're gonna have so many opportunities."
But it's not just workers that don't buy it.
"You cannot continue to take jobs out and let international corporations take jobs," saysTony Fransetta from the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans. "Your job is on the line. Whatever you do for a living. Your job is on the line."
And that's why so many plan to say 'No' to free trade.
"HEY, HEY, HO, HO FTA HAS GOT TO GO!" yell protestors at an earlier event.
But this conference isn't just about free trade. It's about making Miami the center of it all.
"The spotlight of America and the world is on us," says Cobb. "We will all reap the rewards if we are selected as the headquarters of this new common market."
And that could mean as many as 50 thousand new jobs - right here in South Florida...
So - for now - in spite of the opportunities that could come our way... Opponents mobilize to make sure their voices are heard...
And police prepare for what could be the most major protests we've seen here... in quite some time.