With U.S.-Latin American relations growing increasingly strained, The Post may want to think twice about calling Colombia’s President Uribe an ally (“Assault on an Ally,” May 6, 2007). More so, your editorial revealed considerable error regarding the actual functioning of Plan Colombia.
Those responsible for the cruel treatment of tens of thousands of innocent civilians are hardly being brought to justice. Uribe’s formula grants rightwing paramilitary impunity on the most minimum of terms, such as paying an insulting pittance to the relatives of brutalized victims.
The Post seems to trivialize Colombia’s grave humanitarian crisis by calling it a “supposed” rights crisis, insinuating that the mass murders and increasing poverty levels are not worthy enough grounds for rejecting a U.S.-Colombian trade deal. Colombia is currently home to the second largest population of displaced persons in the world. Potable water and adequate nutrition is a distant reality since 49% of Colombians live in poverty. The Post correctly asserts Uribe’s 80.4% approval rating, but it is hard to believe that those living in such conditions would, if they had a real alternative, continue to favor a President who continues to dedicate billions of U.S. foreign aid dollars to ineffective drug plans and abetting the paramilitaries, rather than authentic social development.
Touting Uribe’s regime as “democratic” may comfort Washington but hardly legitimizes embattled U.S. policy in the region.