Consumers/States Against Trade Premption Insurance Bill
Coolness to NAFTA Strong - Especially in Battleground States

Colombian Minister Booster of McCain, FTA and more $ to Death Squads

(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among candidates)

In a recent interview published in the Huffington Post's Off the Bus, former Colombian foreign Minister Fernando Araujo hardly strayed from official campaign talking points in endorsing McCain. He expected McCain to win because "what North Americans value most is security, stability and experience".

Sadly, the experience of normal people with other policies that Araujo advocated in the interview - more NAFTAs for one - has been decidedly negative. I'm sure he didn't mean for us to consider our national experience of losing millions of good-paying jobs, the current macro-economic instability that has resulted from the FTAs and other market fundamentalist policies of the Bush years, or the insecurity that U.S. workers are feeling in a time of deep financial uncertainty, though many of you undoubtedly will.

I am even more certain that Araujo does not want you to consider a certain element in the experience of Colombian General Montoya. The WP says that Montoya has "for years been a trusted caretaker of the sizable aid package Washington provides Colombia's army" - the $641million in military aid that Araujo above argues should be expanded -  but that he now has a slight problem. The WP goes on:

[A] former paramilitary fighter has said in special judicial proceedings that Montoya, who heads Colombia's army, collaborated with death squads that took control of this city's poor neighborhoods from the guerrillas a few years ago. His testimony, along with that of at least four paramilitary commanders, is illuminating the links between Colombia's potent, U.S.-backed military and its brutal paramilitary proxies.

Essentially, our tax dollars are going into the stewardship of a man reputed to have funneled said resources to the death squads. And its no surprise to us that Araujo wants both the FTA and even more money to the paramilitaries. We've noted for some time how the elite and their paramilitary allies will emerge the winners from a more globalized and less accountable Colombia.

But this does spell big trouble for the General and his boss, President Alvaro Uribe, whose reputation has already smarted for links to right-wing death squads that terrorize union activists and other advocates for the poor. Uribe arrives this week in the US to continue a final push for approval of the US-Colombia NAFTA deal. Amid rising allegations of direct military culpability for extra judicial killings, and now further links between his government and the death squads, his bogus claims that Colombia is reformed will be met with much greater scrutiny on the Hill.

After lobbying for Congress to thwart democratic accountability to pass the FTA, and misleading Congress about the FTA's support in their country, it makes you wonder how they can continue to show their face in Washington and spew the same tired misinformation and lies.

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