Colapsa la relación de Colombia con Estados Unidos

By July 7, 2007Trade

The headline above — The collapse of Colombian-U.S. relations — comes from an article in Nova Colombia, detailing how an anti-trade contingent in Congress, aligned with organized labor, is using every political weapon to block the new, bilateral free trade agreement. Its failure could be devastating for democratic progress in Latin America.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily editorially explained the real crisis facing trade and democratic progress in Colombia and Latin America, “Congress Holds Colombia Hostage.” It’s a harsh editorial, one that does not adequately acknowledge the level of internal congressional debate on Colombia, but it does powerfully paint the stakes of a failed FTA.

The trade pact Colombia negotiated in good faith with the U.S. and which it needs to sustain its dramatic economic recovery from the ruins of a 44-year war must wait until Democrats arbitrarily decide they’re satisfied with the violence level. This gives every anti-free trade Colombian thug an incentive to keep killing.

And what do the Colombians think? Again, IBD:

Millions of Colombians instead issued a people’s cry last Thursday against the more serious enemy of their country’s well-being — the Marxist FARC narcoterrorists. They marched through the streets of Bogota, Medellin and Cali — calling for an end to the violence from the radical left. Led by Uribe himself, the first million-plus protest in Colombia in decades was triggered by the cold-blooded murder of 11 legislators by FARC, who held the elected leaders for five years before killing them.

The NAM supports free trade agreements as a means to expand export opportunities for manufacturers in the United States, and the US-Colombia FTA certainly meets that goal. Most U.S. exports to Colombia are industrial goods, and nearly 80 percent of Colombia’s tariffs on these goods will fall to zero when the FTA takes effect.

But we are cognizant of the broader foreign policy issues, as well. Destabilization of Colombia — the collapse of relations, as the headline calls it — will be a damaging blow to democracy in South America, empowering anti-American, anti-trade forces like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The domestic political game being played here in the United States with the U.S.-Colombia FTA is extremely dangerous.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • bbm says:

    MM,

    Maybe you should read about the situation a little.

    They are getting the right wing death squads off the streets, and arresting politicians with links to them. Removing the root cause for the right wing death squads… the left wing death squads (that is the FARC and ELN) will also be important.

    The fact of the matter is that the Colombian government, though not perfect certainly, is freely elected and respects constitutionalism, rule of law, doing a good job despite the circumstances.

    Blocking free trade there only will hurt regular Colombians by retarding economic growth; this will also force the agrarian poor to continue coca production.

    Read the excellent summary here:

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&country=7156&year=2007

  • MM says:

    In Colombia the trade unionists have to go around with armed escorts to their meetings. Journalists and organizers are still routinely murdered.

    This item does not explain exactly what’s included in the Free Trade bill, but I suspect it includes some military aid as well. I do not want my tax money going (especially in the form of weapons and military training) to that corrupt and oppressive government until the AUC and right-wing death squads working on behalf of the powerful are history. I do not want special trade provisions reserved for a regime with blood on its hands. Bravo, Democratic Congress!

  • dicentra says:

    Colombia would be a lot better off if the narcotraficantes didn’t find such a fertile market here in the US. Every time you snort a line of cocaine or other product that runs through Colombia, you’re subsidizing murders, kidnappers, and outright terrorists. These guys executed Colombia’s entire Supreme Court in the mid-1980s.

    FARC is nothing but a bunch of thugs who want to overthrow a constitutional democracy.

  • Pablo says:

    James McEnteer has it exactly backwards. The FARC, ELN, EPL, etc bring destruction and fear. In the past few years since Uribe was elected the Colombian people can now freely travel most of their own country – something that was difficult under previous administrations. Uribe has put the guerrillas on the defensive, driving them away from the main highways and into the more remote regions. For those who still hold to the idea that the failed socialist/communist ideology is the answer to life’s problems then Uribe’s a threat and a menace. To those who love freedom he has been a breath of fresh air. Even those who oppose him in certain political areas admit that he has made the country safer for the vast majority of the people.

  • joe says:

    As a resident of Colombia it’s apparent to me that the government is doing a fairly good job under difficult circumstances. If you look hard enough at any prominent person or company here, it’s possible to find “links” to paramilitaries or Los Farc. If someone is faced with the choice of accept this bribe (or pay this extortion) or we’ll kill you and your family, they’ll probably take the bribe or pay the extortion.

    Colombians are educated, hard-working people that in general like the USA, and the country has improved tremendously under Urribe. The USA should be supporting colombia more, not less.

  • bbm says:

    To add to my above post:

    As you can see, Colombia is listed as “partly free” with a political and civil liberties score of 3/3 respectively (USA, France at 1/1 and Brazil at 2/2 and Mexico at 2/3 are considered “free”… Hati is considered partly free at a score of 4 and 5…Cuba is a 7).

    Limitations on press action largely are the result of criminal action (eg asasination of journalists reporting on drug trade etc) rather than by government action.

    The government does a pretty good job of enforcing the rule of law (see the constitutional limitations of Uribe’s executive powers as well as the arrest and prosecution of politicians found to have been linked to right wing death squads).

    It amazes me that someone with so little actual knowledge has the temerity to post (or vote) on this minimal knowledge. As I said, I hope the post was satirical.

  • M. Simon says:

    James,

    Our biggest export to Colombia is the Drug War.

    Price supports for criminals.

    How else does a pile of vegetables become woirth its weight in gold?

  • bbm says:

    James,

    I hope your post is satirical. If not, you clearly don’t know much about it. My wife is Colombian. Colombia is a democracy and Uribe has been freely elected (by 62% in the last election, 40% more than his nearest rival), and subjected to judicial review and limitation of his policies as would be expected in a constitutional democracy. Yes, the country is troubled by violence and especially corruption; but overall the government adheres to the rule of law (eg politicians with links to paramilitaries are being arrested and prosecuted etc). As a democracy facing internal disruption equivalent in quality (if not scope) to our own civil war, they are doing a reasonably good job at cleaning things up. To renege on our commitments now could reverse that process as well as create poverty and disruption fot the people of Colombia.

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&country=7156&year=2007

  • pburich says:

    Yeah, man. If only like Bush and the elected narco-terrorists in Columbia would stop fighting the noble FARC all would be good in Colombia. For that’s what the FARC stands for: bringing true democracy to the people. Even if they have to kill a few thousand Colombians to get their message across. Creo que el Comandante Nano es correcto: El senor McEnteer fuma demasiado basuco fuerte.

  • Comandante Nano says:

    Este Señor Jaime McEnteer obviamente no sabe nada de lo que habla ademas de ser experto en el uso de drogas ilegales. Es un marijuanero que claro va a encontrar excusas para los guerilleros marxistas quienes son el enemigo común del pueblo Colombiano y de nuestros aliados en esta lucha el pueblo norteamericano. Vaya McEnteer. Este basuco que fumas te tiene muy bobo.

  • James McEnteer says:

    You’ve got it all exactly wrong. Uribe and friends are the narco-terrorists, stifling true democracy with their death squads, supported by the USA. We have propped up these oligarchic thugs for decades, suppressing human rights. Our biggest exports to Colombia are weapons. If we ended our support for this criminal regime, it would collapse, as it should, under the populist weight. We are creating our own enemies in Latin America, as we have in the Middle East. The failure to learn from history – by Bush, Cheney & the NAM – will exact a steep price.

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