Columbia and Free Trade

Despite the reservations of native Columbians, Prime Minister Harper and his government, today (Saturday, November 22nd) passed the Free Trade Agreement with Columbia, in support of lame-duck President Bush who advocated for the agreement with Columbia.

During the recent U.S. Presidential race, Democrats voiced their objections to the Free Trade Agreement citing that Columbia has an abysmal record when it comes to human rights.

Since his election in 2002, President Alvaro Uribe, "has been regarded as President George W. Bush's main ally in Latina America." Under President Bill Clinton, Plan Columbia was launched to fight the drug trade and rebels, who were accused of having ties to the drug trade.

According to former local Columbians, President Uribe, with military support, has made himself the only president of choice when it comes to elections. "It has become an actual crime to oppose the President and our children are being 'recruited' into armed groups. Families are uprooted and their lands are taken. Women, who had their own homes, are now working as servants and must often root through garbage for food for their families." Sources confirm that much of the economy is controlled by drug lords and the government under Uribe and that there are 'death squads' who decide who is to ... disappear.

Apparently, Uribe has also admitted to close ties with Republican, John McCain. He also discussed the free-trade agreement between Columbia and the United States with Vice-President, Joe Biden, however, the Democratic Congress refused to condone it because of human rights issues.

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13/01/2009 04:22 PM

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"There are several armed factions," say former Columbian residents. "Groups called para-militaries are nothing more than death squads and are known as "Black Eagles'. Then, there are the guerilla forces that are also divided into numerous sub-groups. There are also militia groups in urban and rural areas that are connected with these armed groups and who act as intelligence informers on friends and neighbours."

According to the Columbians, now Canadian citizens, "Over the past five years, at least, there has been a disappearance of many people. Very young people been tricked into thinking that are being taken to other areas where there are jobs ... they are never seen by their families again."

They have seen their families murdered, their sons disappear and they have had to escape a regime that has no respect for human rights. Even now, they hesitate to speak about their lives in the country in which they were born.

And yet, Canada's own Prime Minister, Steven Harper, has pushed through this 'Free Trade' agreement standing behind President Bush, whose time in office is limited, even though the people of Columbia do not want it. Why?

For a lead-in article click here

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