Colombia held its runoff election for president on Sunday, and voters gave 69 percent of the vote to Juan Manuel Santos, the 58-year old former defense minister who leadership helped bring the narco-terrorist guerilla war under control while strengthening protections for human rights. Santos campaigned on a free-market platform that promised a continuation of the economic policies of President Alvaro Uribe.The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “Colombia Speaks“:
This triumph also ought to echo in Washington, where Democrats in Congress and the White House continue to deny a vote on the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement. One liberal Democratic excuse has been concerns about Mr. Uribe’s security policies, but Colombia’s people have now spoken.
Like Mr. Uribe, Mr. Santos wants the free trade deal to force his country to face the discipline of global competition and turn Colombia into the next Chile or Taiwan. Such progress would further reduce the FARC’s appeal, and it is certainly in the U.S. national interest. This one shouldn’t even be controversial.
The Washington Post also asks editorially, “Will Washington treat Colombia’s Santos as an ally?“
Ratification of the free-trade agreement would serve the administration’s stated goal of boosting U.S. exports while bolstering a nation that could be an anchor for democracy and political moderation in the region. It would also allow the administration and Congress to demonstrate that friends of the United States will be supported and not scorned in Washington.
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