TPP opponents protest outside Chile's foreign ministry building
SANTIAGO, April 11 (Xinhua) — Opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) protested outside the building of Chile’s foreign ministry on Monday, criticizing the government of signing the deal without informing citizens of the consequences.
Rallying under the banner of “Chile Better Without the TPP,” the protesters demanded Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz respond to lingering questions about the impact of the agreement.
According to Lucia Sepulveda, spokesperson of the protesting group, President Michelle Bachelet wrote a letter to the group several months ago, in which she said the foreign ministry would respond to their questions on the treaty, which had been criticized for lack of transparency by labor activists and other groups in several signatory countries.
Following often secretive negotiations which began in March 2010, the TPP was signed by Chile, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and Peru in New Zealand on Feb. 4. The agreement needs to be approved by each of the 12countries’ parliaments.
Sepulveda also took issue with the fact that Munoz recently brushed off any further scrutiny of the deal by telling the daily La Tercera that “the only criticism I have of the TPP is that it kept me from seeing The Rolling Stones.”
The British rock band held a concert in Santiago on Feb. 3.
“It is unacceptable for the foreign minister of a country to show such a degree of frivolity,” said Sepulveda.
Another spokesman of the protesters, Esteban Silva, said: “The minister said that because of the TPP, he couldn’t see The Rolling Stones, but in reality what he can’t see is how damaging this agreement is to the country’s interests.”
Munoz has so far refused to meet any of the more than 100 organizations that are against the treaty, said Silva.
Next Monday has been designated an international day of protest against the TPP with demonstrations scheduled in various signatory countries, including Chile, said Silva.