Media Bonus!

Attention print reporters: Here's one story you won't want to miss

It's been a hectic couple of months for business reporters. First Cancun in September and now Miami in November. Covering the WTO meeting in Mexico was arduous. Between the dangerous mob of protesters and the general disorganization of the event itself, newspaper reporters, especially those forced to file daily stories, had no chance to enjoy Cancun's charms. But Miami will be different.

As a public service to our hard-working brethren from all parts of the hemisphere, we've taken the liberty of preparing an FTAA news feature that will feed the beast and spring you free to head for South Beach, where thoughts of agricultural subsidies will melt away in the warm sun.

Simply input the appropriate story (one for U.S. readers, one for Latin readers), fill in the blanks, and file. Your clueless editor will never know the difference.

MIAMI -- The palm trees, blue skies, and warm breezes of Miami are well known to visitors from the _________ area. For the past several days, those same alluring attractions have also provided the framework for the Free Trade Area of the Americas ministerial meeting. At yesterday's sessions, however, a few disgruntled representatives from the United States' underdeveloped neighbors to the south managed to rain on the parade.

U.S. negotiators representing the business interests of states like _________ seemed baffled by the ire of their South American counterparts during a fiery panel discussion on the merits of the FTAA. "There's been a lot of loose talk about workers' rights and the power of U.S.-based megacorporations," said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I think we all know that once the cash starts flowing, those things usually tend to take care of themselves. Meanwhile, South America, get ready to take a ride on the money train!"

U.S. officials say the FTAA is all about cooperation among neighbors and sharing the wealth, such as bananas from Central America and U.S. goods like _________ from _________. But FTAA critics say the deal will widen the gap between the hemisphere's haves and have-nots. "Vague allegations from a few unfriendly leftists don't amount to meaningful criticisms," said a top U.S. negotiator who asked not to be named. "Believe me, once we get them hooked up to cable and the Internet, they'll realize they didn't have a clue what it means to be a high-end consumer. I mean, what part of 'getting rich' don't these people understand?"

United States delegates noted that the FTAA is supported not only by American blue-collar workers from _________, but also by most Latin countries "who really understand this kind of thing." The U.S. negotiator pointed to Chile as an example. "Now, there's one country with a very impressive history of

MIAMI -- As anyone heading north from _________ or _________ knows, Miami can be alluring: breezy beaches, blue skies, flashy nightclubs, and fancy restaurants. It's also the gateway to the Americas, the place where Latin American economic and political leaders from _________ to _________ meet to do business. But for several days now, this city's palm trees and calm seas have been as stormy as a hurricane. It appears that the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) ministerial meeting will end without agreement on how to constitute this hemispheric trade pact. The problem: Latin American countries, _________ included, say there's just too much U.S. in FTAA.

At no point was this more evident than during a fiery panel discussion yesterday on the merits of the FTAA, derided by representatives from _________ and _________. Following the panel, one top Latin negotiator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "The United States thinks we're just going to drop our trousers, bend over, take a whap on the ass, and say, 'Thank you, sir, may I have another.'" He added that the exclusion of Cuba from the ministerial was an act of Yankee cowardice. "Try to imagine a Latin American country like _________ doing that. It's shameful," he said.

Honest efforts to address the concerns of Latin American countries, _________ in particular, have been in short supply at the Miami conference. More than one Latin delegate expressed bewilderment and frustration with "detestable American arrogance," as one trade delegate put it. "How would their doctors and lawyers feel if they had to take jobs driving taxis in Buenos Aires or São Paulo?" said the delegate, who asked not to be named. "What would they say if we went to their country and married their most beautiful women? But of course we do exactly that because the so-called men are a bit too

 
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