Colombia FTA: How the Colombians See It

By April 13, 2008Trade

ElTiempofront.jpgTo the readers of Colombia’s largest daily circulation newspaper, El Tiempo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “la Doctora No” — Dr. No.

At least that was the headline on a Sunday report from the newspaper’s Washington correspondent, Sergio Gomez Maseri. As far as we can make out, it’s not a negative piece, but rather one that attempts to explain to a Colombian audience the authority of the Speaker of the House and just who Nancy Pelosi is: “The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is the most powerful woman in the country.”

But it also does a good job of explaining how Colombia’s public sees her decision to block consideration of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement:

A telephone call came Wednesday afternoon to Colombian Ambassador Carolina Barco in Washington. On the other end of the line was Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in the country in her role as Speaker of the House. “I hope you don’t take this personally. This is a problem about power,” she told Barco before publicly announcing the freezing of the FTA between Colombia and the United States. For a vast majority of Colombians, especially those who have been part of the close relations between these two countries, it was much more than an announcement. Pelosi, in a single stroke, had stopped the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.

Although Barco and the minister of trade, Luis Guillermo Plata, and others rushed to say that the agreement was not dead, in reality it is far more than just damaged. It depends, according to Pelosi, on President Bush committing to a series of costly economic initiatives to which he has so far given a resounding no.

This is the story in Spanish and a very rough English translation, via Google. (Warning: Includes a vulgarity for “messing things up.”)

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