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Ventura Rally Protests Pact on Free Trade

September 19, 1993|JULIE FIELDS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

More than 60 people, most of them backers of Ross Perot, protested the North American Free Trade Agreement near the Ventura County Government Center on Saturday, saying it will create a no-win situation for both the United States and Mexico.

The demonstrators, many of whom are members of Perot's United We Stand America, stood at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Telephone Road from 2 to 3 p.m. holding placards and shouting anti-NAFTA slogans.

A number of passing motorists--including newlyweds waving through the sunroof of a limousine--honked in response to the demonstration.

Perot has crusaded against the agreement, which, if approved by the House and Senate, would eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico over the next 15 years.

Saturday's protesters cited a fear of losing American jobs and environmental concerns as their biggest reasons for opposing NAFTA. The protest was organized by the Ventura chapter of United We Stand America.

"One of the things that disturbs me most about the free-trade agreement is that Mexico is already a debtor nation," said Bob Oserin, 65, a retired insurance executive from Agoura Hills.

"I don't know how it can benefit either of the countries," he said.

Jacques Renau of Oxnard, a retired aerospace engineer, said he believes that American business will suffer under NAFTA if companies move jobs to Mexico for cheaper labor. Americans displaced from their jobs, Renau said, will no longer have money to buy the goods made in Mexico and shipped to the United States.

Said Renau: "They're killing their own goose."

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