Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Visit from Luz Penalosa

Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Two Sundays ago, we had a visit from a Colombian lady who worked in the flower industry. Luz Penalosa is touring the Southeast US with Witness for Peace to talk about justice for Colombian flower growers, where a good portion of flowers for sale in the US originate.

Here's a little more info:

At first glace Colombia’s flower sector is a huge success story. In 25 years a handful of flower farms has blossomed into an industry with 450 companies, making Colombia the world’s second largest flower exporter after the Netherlands.

The plains surrounding the country’s capital, Bogota, provide a competitive advantage for flower growers—a perfect climate, rich soil, plentiful cheap labour and proximity to an international airport.

Britain is the largest single market in Europe for Colombia’s flowers. According to a 1994 Christian Aid report on working conditions in the flower industry, British consumers buy more than half of their carnations—about 33 million—from Colombia.

But there is a dark side to the flower sector’s success. To ensure that the flowers are not rejected by importing countries, Colombian flower farmers douse the plants in pesticides to prevent any disease or blemish. The result is poisoned workers, contaminated water and parched soil.


Specifically, Luz was telling us to oppose AFTA - the Andean Free Trade Agreement. Like NAFTA and CAFTA before it, this "free" trade agreement was written for the benefit of corporations, not the people here OR there.

We will always support FAIR trade, not "free" trade - which inevitably means corporations are more free to take advantage of workers and the environment to the People's disadvantage.


Post a Comment

<< Home