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From the President Apr 18, 2012
Secret Service Scandal in Colombia Distracts From Flawed Trade Deal
by admin

The nasty business of the Secret Service detail frolicking with Colombian prostitutes has captivated the media.

The White House might be pleased by the distraction from the real business that went on Cartagena—working out the final details of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The claimed gain in jobs is unlikely to result from the free trade deal.  Based on experience, quite the opposite is more likely to occur. Think, NAFTA.

The notion that Colombia is now going to actively protect its labor leaders and union members is ludicrous. Some 30 unionists were murdered in Colombia last year, four already this year, and 3,000 since 1986.

Our nation's leaders might have waited for a good faith effort and verifiable results before inking this deal.

The President has signed a deal with the assumption that Colombia will enforce its laws, protect unionists and continue to do so after the deal goes into effect in May.  “Ya gotta believe,” as they say.  But it's hard to put faith in a government that is widely perceived as complicit in repressing labor rights.

Yes, on the whole, the antics of a few unruly Secret Service agents worked to divert attention from the trade deal. Long after the escapade is forgotten, the negatives felt here in job losses and there in continuing repression will be more memorable and regrettable.


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