I just made a call to the White House to give President Obama a message about my concerns regarding the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. It takes a little patience and persistence to get through, but is a relatively simple step that I hope you will also take. Details on how to make the call and a sample script you can adapt according to your perspective are available here: Call-In Days to the White House.
Here’s what I had to say:
Hello, President Obama,
My name is Sarah Henken and I am from Mission Hills, California. I am a pastor and a mission worker of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and I am calling today because I am strongly opposed to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
I have been blessed with numerous opportunities to visit Colombia, and I am privileged to have several friends among the five million internally displaced persons there.
Five million—and the number continues to grow. It counts mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents who have already suffered unspeakable violence, and whose chances to build a stable life are not supported by this trade agreement.
This Free Trade Agreement does not guarantee protections desperately needed for those who advocate for human rights in Colombia, including faith-based leaders, Afro-Colombians, and Indigenous leaders. It does not protect the environment, nor does it adequately address concerns for the safety of organized labor leaders.
I fear that this agreement would force many campesinos to grow coca for the drug trade, since U.S. producers would export at a cheaper price the same legal crops that many small farmers currently cultivate. As a result, this agreement would exacerbate the problems of our exceedingly costly war on drugs.
As a Christian, all of these things are of deep concern to me, and I hope they are to you as well. Please, do not allow this agreement to go to Congress for ratification without extensive modification.
Thank you very much, and God bless you.