The Pending US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: False Claims Versus Hard Realities

by James Jordan

This article appeared at Upside Down World.

With a little more than a year until the 2012 elections, the White House and Congressional leadership are anxious to pass pending Free Trade Agreements (FTA) as soon as possible.

Most worrisome of all is the pending FTA between the US and Colombia. Corporate leaders and US and Colombian government officials with their public relations operatives are peddling lie after lie to justify passage.

The following guide put together by The Alliance for Global Justice will help people to better understand and counter the falsehoods they will be hearing in the coming weeks.

Distinguishing between fact and fiction with claims regarding the pending US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

CLAIM: Passing the FTA will put the US in a better position to pressure Colombia to improve its labor and human rights record.

REALITY: US intervention in Colombia has caused more problems than it has helped and the FTA would only make things worse. Recent investigations by the Colombian Attorney General have uncovered extensive US involvement regarding domestic spying by former President Álvaro Uribe’s administration. Information was shared with and analyzed by embassy staff and domestic spying programs were funded by the CIA. Activities included gaining access to the bank accounts, following the families and bugging the offices of Colombian magistrates.

Targets also included labor leaders. According to an August 20, 2011 Washington Post article: “Another unit that operated for eight months in 2005, the Group to Analyze Terrorist Organization Media, assembled dossiers on labor leaders, broke into their offices and videotaped union activists. The United States provided equipment and tens of thousands of dollars, according to an internal DAS report, and the unit’s members regularly met with an embassy official they remembered as ‘Chris Sullivan.'”

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