Colombia within the Bush´s disappointments

No other American president has been so linked to Colombia like George Bush in modern times. During his eight years presidency, the Latin American nation was regarded as the strongest allied of the USA in the Western Hemisphere. By the other hand, the government of Álvaro Uribe had in Bush a big support. But within the list of “disappointments” expressed by the American president in his last press conference last Monday, Colombia was included.
The president said that one of his disappointments  during his administration, was the impossibility to sign the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Actually, the campaigns of President Uribe before the Congress of the United States to get approved the FTA with Colombia were not difficult, because the intention had the support of President Bush who called different times on Congress to approve the economical agreements starting with Colombia.
Using terms that become classic in the Bush speeches, the president related the agreement with Colombia to the national security and economic interests. He used to mentioned also the expanding of democracy, the strengthen of rule of law and the lifting of million of persons living under poverty.

But the opposition in the Congress by the Democrats was not only a characteristic of the American site. In Colombia the opposition to the government of Uribe played its part. The main issue was the human rights in the country, regarded as a question with poor improvement in the country by humanitarian organizations.

The agreement with Colombia would mean an important market for industrial goods, agricultural commodities, services and investment, according to the view of President Bush in what he said a year ago defending the FTA.

The President noticed then that over 90 percent of U.S. imports from Colombia, enter the country duty-free. If the FTA is approved, more than 80% of the American exports of industrial and consumer goods will have open the fourth-largest trading partner in Latin America and the largest market for U.S. agriculture in South America: Colombia.

Bush linked the FTA with Colombia to the reinforcement of democracy in Latin America showing support for a key ally, as the president called the South American nation.

Though critics to the improvement of human rights in the Colombia governed by President Álvaro Uribe are not fully satisfied, one thing is a fact: the country has improved substantially from a gloomy reality of general violence to a more healthy panorama where necessary conditions for human rights have been establish. Only those blind by ideologies are unable to recognize the achievements of a strong politic of Uribe in confrontation with armed groups and mafia. Kidnappings, terrorist attacks and murders dropped significantly.

Only those who have known Colombian cities since the 1990´s and know them today, can feel the fact of a big change in the context. That means also that the Colombian government should work more in the development of human rights protection and the end of impunity in the country. The work for peace is not fully accomplish in Colombia: Indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, unionists, employees of the judicial system and many others, still under treat of violent dark forces.

The failure to sign the FTA with Colombia was one of the things that disappoint President Bush, who said in the conference that he is worry for the economical protectionism.

Surely with the end of the government of President George Bush, many things will change also in Colombia. It would be unpredictable, but we hope that everything will go for the best of both nations. The problem is that Colombia was considered an ally of a government that finish with a low popularity in its own country and outside. At the same time, Colombia took distance from its own region. Let us hope that the Latin American country will not pay it also.

“A disappointment — not a mistake, but a disappointment — was not getting the three trade bills out of Congress on Colombia, Panama and South Korea,” he said.


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