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Acton Institute, April 26 - Grand Rapids, Michigan — Quebec City hosted the recent meeting of the Western hemisphere's democratic countries that produced an agreement to create the world's largest free trade zone by 2005. The meeting was punctuated with violence from anti-trade protesters, while Venezuela "reserved its position" in lieu of an affirmative vote. Both demonstrate active dissent and illustrate the need for greater understanding of free trade's benefits to all countries on local and international levels.

Acton Institute president Rev. Robert A. Sirico, a Catholic priest, and Acton program director Rev. Jerry Zandstra, a Christian Reformed minister,will take the message of themoral potential of free trade to Latin America on an extensive tour of Guatemala and Peru.

"We realize that many Latin American countries remain doubtful of their gain under the conditions of free trade. We want professors, pastors,and business leaders in Latin America to know that not only will free trade create economic progress and a higher quality of life, but it will also offer moral benefits, as good people are permitted to live free lives," said Rev. Zandstra.

Rev. Sirico and Rev. Zandstra will meet with a variety of audiences in Latin America, including business and government leaders, Protestant and Catholic clergy, and will also co-host a program for 900 priests and pastors in Peru, teaching the moral potential of free trade.

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at