Bogotá, Colombia. March 24, 2008
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Senate Majority Leader
RE: Voting against the FTA is the right decision.
The /Polo Democrático Alternativo/ (Democratic Alternative Pole, a Colombian political party), supports our nation’s economic, political and cultural relations with all the countries of the world including, certainly, the United States, because these relations contribute to the well-being of the people, to the extent that they are designed to meet the goal of achieving reciprocal benefits among the two parties.
The fundamental problem with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia is that it has been reduced to an agreement between winners and losers. Unfortunately, we Colombians are the losers, because we lose any possibility of achieving prosperous development. Likewise, many have also indicated correctly that this FTA benefits only a select minority in the United States, not the general population. For example, the destruction of Colombian agriculture caused by the FTA will stimulate the planting of coca in Colombia and more drug dealing in the streets of American cities.
In addition, the record shows that the government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez has not responded adequately to the violence that plagues Colombians and particularly union leaders and human rights activists, as is demonstrated by the alarming figures from last month, in which four union leaders were murdered. Recent studies conducted by the State Department and the United Nations reflect this current situation. In fact the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia has recently released a statement in which they express "deep concern over the death threats directed at leaders of social and human rights organizations who actively participated in the recent March 6 demonstration" in memory of the victims of all the violence in Colombia.
Therefore, the Democratic Party can make a positive contribution to improving relations between the people of our two countries by voting against the FTA between the United States and Colombia.
CARLOS GAVIRIA DÍAZ
Polo Democrático Alternativo
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621