Scroll down for Monica’s editorial
Monica Showalter of Investor’s Business Daily, Robert Meyer of Publius Pundit, and Gateway Pundit talk to Fausta about Colombia, the US Congress and the Free Trade Agreement in this afternoon’s special podcast.
You can listen to it here
You can listen to the podcast here
Monica was pressed for a deadline and Gateway Pundit couldn’t make it, so Robert and I discussed the ramifications of the FTA, whether it is approved or not.
Babalu has more on the demonstrations.
Update, Saturday, 7/7/7
Here’s the editorial Monica was working on (emphasis added):
Congress Holds Colombia Hostage
Free Trade: Congressional Democrats justify scrapping a U.S. trade pact with our best ally in the hemisphere on vague claims its government violates human rights. Last week, Colombia’s people saw a different enemy.
It was couched in syrupy language, but it was as bad a blow to Colombia as any dealt by its enemies. The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, in a statement by Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel and Sander Levin declared the Democratic Party would deny free trade indefinitely to 46 million Colombians over a few dozen unsolved murders of union activists in the last year.
Hundreds of thousands in Cali demanded the release of kidnap victims.
The trade pact Colombia negotiated in good faith with the U.S. and which it needs to sustain its dramatic economic recovery from the ruins of a 44-year war must wait until Democrats arbitrarily decide they’re satisfied with the violence level. This gives every anti-free trade Colombian thug an incentive to keep killing.
How Colombia could satisfy the Democrats was something a Pelosi spokesman told us he had no specifics about and “would have to get back to” us on. (He hasn’t.)
Although Colombia critically needs a free trade pact to sustain investment, curb its illicit drug trade and end tariffs for U.S. companies, this didn’t seem to matter.
Instead, Congress was looking for excuses to halt free trade. Why? For the sake of its own union backers, of course, and to curry favor with the leftist think tanks which are enraged about the success of Colombia’s popular — and conservative — President Alvaro Uribe.
U.S. congressional hearings on June 28 about right wing paramilitary murders of union activists painted Colombia’s democracy as a caricature of a 1970s military junta.
Congress focused on gory reports about violence there, singling out unions as martyrs with little context about the biggest detail — that the violence had fallen and 1,500 union officials were being protected by the government.
“There is widespread concern in Congress about the level of violence in Colombia, the impunity, the lack of investigations and prosecutions, and the role of the paramilitary. Issues of this nature cannot solely be resolved through language in a trade agreement,” a Democratic Party statement read. “Consequently, we cannot support the Colombia FTA at this time.”
Well, here’s a little context: This year, the number of union officials killed in Colombia was three. Last year, it was 72. Ten years ago, it was 275, according to Amnesty International.
In Congressional testimony, Human Rights Watch lumped all murders of union officials since 1986 together, dishonestly producing a scary 2,515 total. It gave no indication of progress.
But in Colombia, only 4.3% of workers are unionized, union deaths are barely an issue and paramilitaries have been dismantled.
Millions of Colombians instead issued a people’s cry last Thursday against the more serious enemy of their country’s well-being — the Marxist FARC narcoterrorists. They marched through the streets of Bogota, Medellin and Cali — calling for an end to the violence from the radical left. Led by Uribe himself, the first million-plus protest in Colombia in decades was triggered by the cold-blooded murder of 11 legislators by FARC, who held the elected leaders for five years before killing them.
In taking to the streets, Colombians sent a message to FARC that its hostage-taking, murder of people of all kinds, narcotrafficking and war were the real enemy. Rallying behind their enormously popular president, they signalled to the world that they are squarely behind his leadership and his fierce struggle against Marxist terror.
This is the real story of Colombia — a nation struggling against the odds to forge a better future through free trade and democracy. Maybe Democrats ought to start thinking about what they really oppose when they try to paint Colombia as a banana republic and deny it the free trade it’s earned.