Friday, April 11, 2008

Democrats Slap Down Free Trade Agreement With Colombia.....For Now

Good news concerning relations between the world's two largest terrorist states:

The US House of Representatives has defied the White House and voted to indefinitely delay action on a free trade deal with Colombia.

President George W Bush sent the free trade agreement to Congress early this week, using a "fast-track" process which requires a vote within 90 days.

The House instead voted to eliminate that rule and suspend action.

Colombia's trade minister, Luis Guillermo Plata, said the vote did not mean the 2006 trade pact was dead.

Of course, this will dismay President Bush who describes Colombia as an 'important ally' (mainly due to the rising influence of Chávez et al). I have little doubt that this is little more than electioneering on the part of the Democrats who only really appear interested in tweaking the legislation a little before allowing it to pass. Having said that, it is a little hypocritical to accuse the Democrats of 'playing politics' when the Republicans have been playing politics with Iraq and the 'war on terror', leading to the deaths of thousands.

In terms of the legislation, Bush has claimed that it is vital as a rebuke to "dictators and demagogues" in Latin America (I can't actually name a single 'dictator' in the region, although rewind to the 70s when US hegemony in the region was in its pomp, and I can name numerous examples). Susan Schwab, the US's trade representative, spat her dummy out and said:

"The House Democratic leadership has now slapped around a major US ally.

"This is the Democratic leadership's version of foreign policy."

What, you mean a (vaguely) more ethical policy?? Surely slapping a major US ally is better to screwing one over (although Blair seemed pretty keen to receive the punishment). Anyway, I digress. If you want to find out why opposing this agreement is so important, either watch this slideshow I have produced (tambien en Español) or watch the following clip by War on Want. Colombia: Pinochet's Chile with a democratic facade.