Global Security Headlines

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colombia´s Courage

Colombia´s courage to stand alone in a hostile neighborhood is instructive to the naive US Obama Administration.

Two enemies on its borders - Ecuador and Venezuela - are not Colombia´s only threats to its fragile democracy. Add the United States, its erstwhile ally.

Bogotá knew the change in administrations and ideologies from Bush to Obama spelled a change in its relationship with Washington.

Thus far, President Obama´s curious choices of friends in Latin America are the very countries who work diligently to undermine freedom and democracy in the region. Staunch allies like Colombia are dismissed.

President Obama refuses to buck Big Labor and fight for a free trade agreement with Presidente Uribe. Washington only advances Caracas´agenda to destroy Colombia by economic pressure, an unconscionable move.

The US seemingly remains oblivious to the high stakes regional power game with the Castro-Chavez Club perhaps blinded by the left-leaning ideology of President Obama and his staff.

The most glaring example is US support for the return of constitutionally-ousted Manuel Zelaya, the former president of Honduras and Castro-Chavez champion. Obviously seriously misinformed, the Obama Administration up to now seeks to re-impose a disgraced freedom hater on the humble country of Honduras.

US interests are sorely served cossetting the Castro-Chavez Club while freedom lovers are cast aside. US influence is declining in Latin America. Supporting those actors who undermine freedom and its allies serves no purpose.

The Obama Administration needs to quickly study the facts on the ground in the region and not allow ideological bias to blind its approach.

Colombia also fights terrorists (FARC, paras) daily like the US. Bogotá even sent troops to help in Afghanistan. The US needs strong allies in a region tipping more toward authoritarianism and less toward freedom. Bogotá deserves better.

A positive first step would be congressional ratification of the free trade agreement with Colombia to reward Bogotá´s progress of reform and show clearly the US does not abandon its freedom-loving allies in a time of need.

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