- Joaquin Castro
Is SA's own Joaquin Castro a "sell out" to liberal causes?
That's at least how one leading San Anto activist is labeling the Texas congressman, whose twin brother Julián is the city's former mayor and now serves in President Obama's cabinet as housing secretary.
The Southwest Workers Union is protesting outside of Congressman Castro's San Antonio office, accusing him of standing up for big business with his support of the TPP — the Transpacific Partnership, a proposed expanded free-trade agreement involving the U.S. and Asian countries.
Given its geopolitical scope, the deal has been fairly secretive so far, with no public disclosure of the details. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative, a post within the White House, cheers for it thusly:
"As the cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s economic policy in the Asia Pacific, the Trans-Pacific Partnership reflects the United States’ economic priorities and values. The TPP not only seeks to provide new and meaningful market access for American goods and services exports, but also set high-standard rules for trade, and address vital 21st-century issues within the global economy."
Parallel to the TPP, there's a proposal in Congress to pass a Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, bill. It would basically give President Obama fast-track authority to get deals like TPP sealed up without much congressional meddling.
Whether it's TPP or TPA, to activist groups like SWU, it all looks and sounds much like NAFTA — free-trade agreements that fill up the pockets of the wealthy while rank-and-file workers don't see a penny of any benefit.
Congressman Castro has expressed support for the TPA and thus gained a target on his back, as far as the SWU is concerned.
"Joaquin Castro is currently supporting the Transpacific Partnership. His reason is because the SA chamber of Commerce supports the TPP and they support Castro," the SWU posted on its Facebook page calling for the protest. "What a sell out!! He would rather sell his self out and the leave the workers to stand alone."
In a statement to the San Antonio Current, the congressman actually seems to indicate he has not yet made his mind up.
“The Southwest Workers Union does great work. I’m glad to see that they’re engaged on this issue," he said. "The TPA bill was introduced last week. I’m reviewing it and will ultimately vote in the best interest of San Antonio.”
So is the SWU's mobilization premature? Stay tuned for Castro's vote when it comes up in Congress.