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Report on NO CAFTA COALITION Protest in Houston, October 21

by David Michael Smith Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 at 2:50 AM
dsmith2740@houston.rr.com (281) 534-7638

About one hundred people participated in a very spirited demonstration against CAFTA in Houston on Tuesday, October 21.

On Tuesday, October 21, about one hundred people came together in Houston to send a powerful message of opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Vigorous chants, spirited speeches, and dynamic drumming combined to create quite a presence. Some of the CAFTA negotiators came out of the Westin Galleria Hotel to watch the protest and give reporters their perspective on things. Some of the hotel employees came out to take a look, too.

It was great to see protesters from religious, community, labor, political, environmental, animal rights, and other organizations. We were especially pleased with the ethnic and cultural diversity of the protest. And we were glad to help bring together a broad range of political forces in the struggle against CAFTA and corporate-led globalization. The energy last night was unmistakable. We really meant it when we chanted, "This is what democracy looks like!"

Special thanks to our speakers: Father Gerry Kelly of The Maryknoll House; Alma Cooper of Latinos Por La Paz, Reverend James Daniels, Vice President of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers Union (PACE) Local 4-1, and Associate Pastor, Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Texas City; Cristobal Hinojosa, Mexicanos en Accion; Raj Mankad, Member of Texas State Employees Union/CWA Local 6186 and Not In Our Name; and Rona Smith of the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee. We are also grateful to Diane Wilson of CodePink, who sent a solidarity message after her truck broke down and she was unable to attend and speak at the protest.

Special thanks to Torry Mercer and Flynn Donovan for their spoken word performances, to the anarchist youth drummers for their rhythm and spirit, to CopWatch, to attorney Randall Kallinen, to Folko Mueller and Mike Vann for their help with the sound equipment and signs, and to all the security volunteers.

And a very special thank-you to Paul Mullan for all his hard work and for serving as a coordinator of the event!

The Galveston County Daily News has a good article on the protest and a nice photograph. You can access the article at:

http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?wcd=14467. The Houston Chronicle has a photograph of the protest on page 11C and an excellent letter by Raj Mankad on page 37A. Some great photographs of the demonstration are available on the Houston Independent Media Center website. And we have heard that the newspapers in Nicaragua reported on our protest, too!

Let's continue to build the struggle against CAFTA, FTAA, the WTO, and corporate-led globalization! Another world is possible!

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