CAFTA is not yet effective

The Central American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to have become effective on January 1 of this year. But opposition to the treaty continues to delay its start, which is now scheduled for March 1 at the earliest. Costa Rica still has not ratified the treaty, and in this weekend's presidential election in that country, Otton Solis, a candidate opposed to CAFTA, has come within votes of defeating pro-CAFTA (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Oscar Arias. In El Salvador, on January 31, protesters clogged the streets to protest law changes necessary to implement the treaty, and the FMLN campaigns in upcoming elections with an anti-CAFTA platform. Other countries have been slow to pass the legislation necessary to implement CAFTA. Meanwhile the US is threatening to delay implementation unless the other CAFTA countries recognize the US meat inspection system as equivalent to their own regimes.