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Issue Analysis

    "Si, Se Puede" President Obama

    03/18/2011

    "Si, Se Puede" President Obama


    Many Republicans and Democrats cannot figure out exactly why President Obama is absent on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  President Obama obviously believes that free trade is valuable and recently applauded himself when he returned from South Korea with a signed FTA in his hand.  So why isn’t Colombia, one of our only democratic allies in South America “worthy” of a similar agreement?


    GOP Senate Leader Senator Mitch McConnell can’t figure this out either and recently published on Oped in the Miami Herald about this exact issue.  He writes:  “This is completely unacceptable, and that’s why Senate Republicans have insisted in recent weeks that all three trade deals must be moved through Congress as quickly as possible. American job creators deserve better than what they’re getting from this administration’s delays. The excuses coming out of the White House have been patronizing at best, not only to American businesses and workers who are clamoring for presidential action, but also to our close allies in Latin America who are just as perplexed as we are that the administration continues to slow-walk these deals.” Senator Mitch McConnell's Miami Herald Oped.


    Those politicians and activists who oppose the Colombian Free Trade Agreement cite human rights violations as being the number one reason for President Obama should not to sign the FTA with Colombia. Dan Kovalik, a prominent U.S. labor and human rights lawyer states: “Colombia, in other words, is considered a key strategic ally in the region, and although "the U.S. is forever criticizing Cuba and Venezuela for their human rights policies, any objective observer would have to conclude that Colombia's human rights policies over the last 15 years, which have included the wholesale murder of its own population, is many times worse."  Is he right?  Kind of, but he stupidly and so typically falls along partisan lines and loses credibility when he fails to mention or even acknowledge the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia); not mentioning the FARC when speaking about Colombia is like not mentioning Al-Qaeda when speaking about Iraq or Afghanistan. 


    The FARC was established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, the FARC is Colombia’s oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency.  This group of communist insurgents has killed and continues to kill thousands of Colombian and international citizens every year.  In fact on this very day, these terrorists hold many prominent Colombians, as well as world citizens hostage in the jungles of Colombia, and like the murders that are the Somali Pirates, they demand ransom for the release of their captives. 


    Colombia, with help from the U.S. managed through tremendous sacrifice to their own people, security and geography to arrive on the frontier of defeating these communist murders; Colombia has paid the ultimate price in their endeavour to rid its nation from Coca trafficking; and how do we re-pay them for this sacrifice?  We cruelly dangle a valuable FTA above their heads, which would better the lives of their citizens dramatically.  Colombians like so many Americans are in disbelief and cannot for the life of them figure out why this is happening.


    The United States encouraged Colombia to fight the FARC, we helped them do so, our brave Special Forces soldiers, whom we will never hear about, died and suffered with their fellow Colombians in the jungle-but this isn’t enough.  It’s time for liberals, and so-called Human rights activists to live in reality and see the amazing accomplishments the Colombians have made; they have not perfected their democratic country, but they are advancing every day, in the midst of a hunkered down communist guerrilla force just waiting for the opportunity to terrorize again.


    I “applaud” Senator Mitch McConnell for taking the lead on this very important issue; Colombia is one of our only democratic allies in South America, and we must support them at every turn in their march towards true freedom from insurgents.