In the eyes of the Swiss, the reputation of the United States of America has for various reasons been in sharp decline, and America has been presenting itself to Switzerland less and less as an old friend, and more and more as an enemy. I want to remind our friends in Switzerland, as well as every American in Switzerland, that the US is a friend of Switzerland, and I want to tell you what the Swiss as friends must do.
The US and Switzerland are two of the worlds oldest democracies, and both share the founding principles of freedom and independence. At the time of the American revolution, Switzerland was surrounded by tyrannical monarchies, and its fierce independence and stubborn refusal to submit to these despots earned it the title of ‘Sister Republic’ to the United States of America.
How things can change. In 2010, the US Congress with FATCA decreed that every bank in the world must report to the IRS, or face severe consequences. This is nothing less than an act of war on the sovereignty of every nation. Switzerland must under no circumstances submit to these threats, and we must as friends tell America that they are out of line. Brute force has replaced enlightened thinking, and the language of threats and intimidation have become the norm of US foreign policy.
Swiss politicians talk of appeasing the Americans to preserve our friendship. Real friends however don’t allow themselves to be bullied or intimidated by their friends. America needs to be brought back to its senses, so that Switzerland and America can sort out their differences as equals. Switzerland must not allow itself to be bullied and treated as a vassal state.
This is why I wish to encourage every person in Switzerland who values real friendship between the US and Switzerland to sign the referendum to repeal FATCA in Switzerland.
The Swiss government recently agreed to enforce FATCA on every Swiss bank. They must report on accounts defined as belonging to ‘US persons’. The US government is however the only one who can decide who a ‘US person’ is, and Switzerland has already agreed to accept all future modifications to FATCA.
This is pure bullying against Switzerland, and were any other country to attempt similar legislation aimed at the US, it would be considered an act of war. The criminal actions of a few Swiss bankers are leading to the subjugation of the entire Swiss banking sector (not to mention other sections of the economy), and Swiss politicians have accepted this with hardly a word of protest.
The referendum to stop FATCA has been launched, and a core group of volunteers is fighting tooth and nail to get the necessary 50,000 signatures before the deadline. It’s a difficult struggle though.
The banks and the large parties are too afraid of the US to mount any resistance, and the average Swiss voter doesn’t yet see how FATCA will affect them personally. By the time they do, it will be too late.
This referendum is a small grass roots movement that needs your help.
Here’s what you can do:
– Go to www.stop-fatca.ch, download the referendum sheet (http://www.lldc.ch/wa_files/referendum_fatca.pdf), and get as many signatures as possible. If you can’t sign yourself (you must be Swiss to sign), find a friend who is willing to sign.
Then send the sheet to:
Le Lobby des Citoyens
Rue du Conseil-Général 20
Please try to send your letters before 16 December. The holiday season means that most communes will be closed, and it will be very difficult getting the signatures validated in time for the 16 January deadline. Every signature counts though, so keep them coming until the very end.
If every American in Switzerland could just get one or two signatures, we’d easily have enough signatures, and we would be making a giant leap towards killing FATCA for good.
– We need every volunteer who is willing to help us. We are working hard and setting up stands to inform people and to collect signatures. But we need help. If you have the time, and are willing to stand outside in the ever colder weather, we’d love to have your support. Send an email to: email@example.com or call 022 807 08 32 to find out more.
– Contact your local representatives and political leaders and ask what they are doing about FATCA. The large Swiss parties have sold out the country to protect the interests of the large banks. They are hoping this law will pass unnoticed. We need to make some noise and stir things up.
FATCA is a steamroller coming down on the world economy, and Americans abroad are going to be this law’s first victims. We can choose to fight and stop FATCA in its tracks, and if we work together we will succeed.
Spread the word to as many people as possible, and good luck!
AJ: Thanks for your efforts to put FATCA on the ballot. You’ve done a lot more than many!
AJ – execution was really poor. The website and Facebook pages were not very encouraging. You hardly showed any presence in German-speaking reasons. Either there was a case of effective sabotage or a case of sloppy execution with no sign of passion and a sense of urgency.
Thanks Innocente! Wasn’t enough though…
Yes, things didn’t work out the way we hoped, and almost the entire effort was concentrated in the French speaking part (and over half the signatures).
The reason is that almost all the initial organisers were all based in Geneva or Vaud, and they were the only ones to put in any serious effort. We were very much let down by most of the SVP/UDC, who gave some token promises of support, but who in the end did very little. Perhaps they’re following what the bankers told them to do.
I was one of the few real polyglots, and I helped in the French area, and even did my own stand in the German part. But however much everyone in the committee would have liked to have helped me, they couldn’t speak German.
Without any serious support from the German speaking cantons, we were in a losing battle of being ignored to death.
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