(Translated by John I. Laun, a CSN volunteer translator )
Bogota, March 12, 2008
From Recalca ( Red Colombiana de Accion Contra el ALCA/ Colombian Network against the Free Trade Agreement.
The most recent argument of President Bush to force approval of the proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia by the U.S. Congress is to indicate that it constitutes a matter of national security for the United States.President Bush is, in addition, taking advantage of the weak position of the two Democratic candidates for President with respect to the crisis in the Andean region, since both Obama and Clinton supported the actions of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez. The President of the United States applying his logic may conclude: if they support Uribe, why do not they accept the FTA The support of the Democratic candidates for Uribe signifies a scourge for the immense majority of the Colombian population, which would truly be harmed by the approval of the FTA.
In recent weeks President Bush also has insisted upon demonstrating that the FTA with Colombia is good for them, since it would increase exports and the business activity of businessmen in the United States. Under the present conditions of recession, a significant increase in Colombian exports is not foreseeable, since the United States wants to overcome its commercial deficit, which implies that it must buy less and sell more. On the other hand, the Colombian government, facing worrisome symptoms in the economy and international trade, has been obliged to debate an increase in some tariffs and has increased the contingencies of free importation of yellow corn and some other raw materials used by industry. Many industrialists, facing the threat of failure of their businesses, are asking for protection of the national market, very much against what was agreed upon in the draft of the FTA with the United States.Right now it seems like the nuclear option planned by President Bush, which consists in forcing a vote on the FTA with Colombia without the approval of the Democratic leadership in Congress, has not proceeded beyond simply a threat, since the intent of the Colombian government to have discussion of the FTA included on the United States Congressional agenda this week again failed. There are no signs that consideration of the FTA with Colombia will be taken up by Congress before the November elections. The concept of;national security of President Bush consists of tying up even more the Colombian economy, so as to insure that the country will be unable to separate itself from it and will be more vulnerable to North American requirements. In this way it can devote itself to treating its neighbors with hostility and trying to impede their democratic processes, which escape the impositions of Washington. The true cause of the regional controversies is the unconditional alignment of Uribe with the dictates of Bush and his “preventive war At the same time as we should struggle to reestablish normality of relations among the Andean nations, we should point out that a healthy relationship between Colombia and its neighbors also depends upon Colombia not continuing to be the beachhead of the empire in South America.