The case against the Colombian free trade pact
I just returned from a 10-day human rights delegation to Colombia sponsored by Witness for Peace.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Baltimore Sun.
#1 May 2, 2011
Those that criticize Colombia have no historical perspective or understanding of the positive progress that Colombia has made. I'm moving there and have been visiting for 17 years. Make no mistake Colombia has many serious problems but the overwhelming vote of confidence (75% aprroval rating) by the people tell the tale. From the 1990's to 2011 the crime rate, kidnapping rate have plummeted and the life of the average Colombian has improved dramatically. Even Ceasar Chavez a communist is trying to stop stop complicity with the FARC guerrillas because he sees that Colombia and its oil and trade relationships are what Venezuela needs to improve. This country has come back from the brink of a communist takeover by drug supported thugs. They were just upgraded to "investment grade" by S&P. GDP and individual income are way up.
Only with the continued development of the Colombian economy with the US free trade agreement as one cornerstone can the human rights issues ever be addressed. Poverty breeds more violence and desperation. Never forget that Colombia is a democracy and has been so for 50 years and is the USA's number one friend in South America. I am not saying that two wrongs make a right but lets look in the mirror here at our own human rights problems, including massive prison populations, huge job losses, lack of immigration reform and discrimination of all types and put this in perspective. All countries need to improve the rights of it's citizens, lets applaud a country that is on the right track and join Europe, Canada and the rest of Latin America in welcoming Colombia to an active trading relationship which will by all estimates increase jobs for exporting USA companies!!
#2 May 2, 2011
Thee Seer, you have so accurately expressed my feelings about Colombia, and I believe they are also the feelings of the many others, who are actually well informed and educated have about the Colombia situation. Like you, I have also been to Colombia, and have followed the amazing progress and positive turn that our strongest ally in Latin American has had in the last decade. I agree with you that we should be supporting the trade agreement and strengthening our relationship with Colombia, which would result in a positive gain for both countries. I also believe that those comments that are so critical about Colombia, come from those who are ignorant about the country, and have never been there.
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