Tragically, the government of Colombia exhibits the behavior of an addict. And, just as regrettably, the United States is co-dependent, so addicted to so called free trade that it plans to award Colombia an agreement based solely on promises.
Addicts always promise. They’ll stop, they pledge. Their co-dependents desperately want to believe, so they cooperate with the addicts’ demands.
Colombia, the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists, has pledged to try to stop the murders to persuade Congress to approve a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Promises, promises.
And the United States has agreed to accept those promises rather than demand performance before signing an FTA. American’s Wall Street banks and multi-national corporations crave another FTA so badly they will believe anything.
When the Colombia FTA was first proposed, Congress refused to approve it because so many trade unionists are assassinated each year by the Colombian military and paramilitary forces that the murders exceed the number of unionists killed in all other countries of the world combined. In 2007, the year that former President George W. Bush completed the agreement, 39 Colombian unionists were slain.
The Colombian government knew why Congress denied approval. It could have responded four years ago by protecting trade unionists and preserving their lives. It did not.
Instead, the murders increased. In 2008, 52 Colombian trade unionists were assassinated, one a week. In 2009, the number declined by 5 to 47, but it was back up to 52 last year. Six have been slain so far this year, including Hector Orozco and Gilardo Garcia, members of the agricultural union known as Association of Peasant Workers of Tolima, who were threatened by the Colombian military just before they were assassinated. Promises, promises.
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