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Posted by on Apr 15, 2008 in Economy, Politics | 4 comments

Colombians Lose as Pelosi, Democrats Play Politics With Trade …

[El Espectador, Colombia]

Have Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats done Colombia wrong on trade? That seems to be the general consensus in that country, Washington’s strongest ally in Latin America. For Colombia’s leading newspaper El Tiempo, Alfredo Rangel writes in part:

“Mrs. Pelosi has gotten her way. With her repeated rejection of the Free Trade Agreement, congressional Democrats are favoring the economic interests of a few U.S. unions and are sacrificing the general interests of Colombia under the pretext of protecting a union minority – the alleged victims of a State that has abandoned them. But behind her apparently humanitarian arguments, it’s clear to everyone that petty electoral interests are being concealed here. The debate over the Free Trade Agreement has been postponed based purely on domestic electoral calculations, in order to pressure the government to grant subsidies to certain U.S. industries. The condition of unionists in Colombia is just a pretext.”

By Alfredo Rangel

Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen

April 13, 2008

Colombia – El Tiempo – Original Article (Spanish)

Mrs. Pelosi has gotten her way. With her repeated rejection of the Free Trade Agreement, congressional Democrats are favoring the economic interests of a few U.S. unions and are sacrificing the general interests of Colombia under the pretext of protecting a union minority – the alleged victims of a State that has abandoned them. But behind her apparently humanitarian arguments, it’s clear to everyone that petty electoral interests are being concealed here. The debate over the Free Trade Agreement has been postponed based purely on domestic electoral calculations, in order to pressure the government to grant subsidies to certain U.S. industries. The condition of unionists in Colombia is just a pretext.

In fact as everyone recognizes, in Colombia there has been an overall improvement in the security situation, and hence the protection of human rights. And this improvement has been particularly marked in the case of trade unions. The current government has made more of an effort than previous governments, and this has been reflected in the very positive results that have been achieved. Colombia today is far from being a union firing squad, as unfortunately it was in previous years due to irregular groups.

That remarkable improvement has been a result of the combined impact of dismantling the vast majority of paramilitary groups, the decline in guerrilla violence to less than half what it was five years ago, the almost complete disappearance of the dirty war between those irregular groups, greater efficiency in the justice system and the expansion of programs to protect trade unionists.

Consider the facts. According to the AFL-CIO, the leading U.S. trade union, in 2001 there were 213 union members murdered in Colombia. According to the Ministry of Social Protection, in the year 2006 that figure dropped to 60 murders and in 2007 was cut to 26. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the majority of those deaths were not politically motivated, nor were there connections between trade unions and the victims. Rather, they were cases of robbery, crimes of passion or other non-political causes.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US

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