Your article, “Bush, Uribe reaffirm alliance” (15th of June) neglects to address some important issues surrounding the latter’s leadership. The alliance between Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe and the White House has been hastily refuelled due to Bush’s current political vulnerability and the lack of allies in the region. The Bush administration continues to provide military aid when instead it should confront Uribe’s shocking human rights record of right-wing paramilitaries and encourage a more rigorous demobilization plan.
The Department of State attempted to justify the steady stream of U.S. aid to Colombia by flaunting the country’s supposed human rights; however, the true reality of Uribe’s administration and the actions of its security forces raises serious question regarding this. Your article acknowledges that “more union leaders are killed in Colombia than anywhere else in the world” and that death threats are commonly levelled at NGOs, demonstrating that as Uribe spouts anti-drug rhetoric at a complacent White House, he continues to allow human rights abuses to thrive.
The Bush administration claims to promote “freedom and international security”, through financial support, but fails to follow through on its rhetoric. Rather, the funds go mostly to a notoriously ineffective “prevention of drug trafficking” plan while U.S tax-payers provide $800 million dollars to Colombia, enabling Uribe to have a massive military budget which perpetuates the country’s internal civil conflict.
The Bush Administration should press Uribe into a more stringent demobilization plan and cease a funding pattern that only compounds the humanitarian situation. Unfortunately, with the U.S running out of level-headed friends in Latin America, critique of Colombia’s policy is now more unlikely than ever.