"Dame dame dame, que te voy a dar ... una guayabita de mi guayabal."


Violent Intersections of Commerce and Conflict in Colombia (and why we will be hearing about Colombia on the nightly news in the US very soon...)

The Bush administration has just fast-tracked the US Free Trade Agreement with Colombia (fast-tracked by the Bushadministration for Congressional debate), has put out a report called "The Violent Intersections of Commerce and Conflict: Examining the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and Plan Colombia." I haven't read it yet, so I can't vouch for it 100%, and I am far from an economist, but it seems like the connections being made in the report between foreign trade, Colombia's civil war, and the disproportionate impact of these policies on black and indigenous Colombians, are right on. AFSC has also put up a website campaigning against the current US policy in Colombia: http://www.tradeandwar.org/connections.html.

Speaking of the FTA, it looks like it might get some attention in the US press very soon, since purportedly anti-trade agreement Hilary's chief camaign strategist, Mark Penn, also works for a lobbying form hired by the Colombian government to get the FTA passed. So much for Hilary calling out Obama for waffling on NAFTA. Obama, meanwhile, has reiterated his opposition to these kinds of trade agreements, playing to the Democratic base, which is generally opposed to the idea of jobs going overseas. So, as the Center fo International Policy blog puts it,

"As the Pennsylvania primary draws near, Colombia may become the subject of a national campaign controversy. If that comes to pass, we can expect an onslaught of distorted, simplistic rhetoric about security improvements, labor-union killings, Alvaro Uribe’s popularity, the drug trade, and much else.
Readers who know Colombia well: prepare to have your patience sorely tested."

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