Monday, October 03, 2011

Finally the US gets its act together on something: FTA for Colombia and Panama

Well, hopefully.

Obama finally sent to the Senate today three free trade agreements, two of them for Latin America: Colombia and Panama.  The first good thing he has done in a long time, and let's hope that it will become the first good thing Republicans will do in a long time by approving it.  Because if you ask me, the GOP House and White House Dem have been lately rather an embarrassment even though the GOP candidates believing in creationism and such shit scare me infinitely more than the wishy-washy White House.  Now we will see if serious people can break free of the blackmailing from AFL-CIO cum Tea Partiers and get down to real productive business.

I certainly wish it so even though it is a little bit late for Latin America.  Had such an FTA passed a couple of years ago its effects today would be felt on Venezuela as Colombia would depend very little from our trade, isolating even more Chavez than what he already is.  The trade deal with Panama two years ago would also have gone some way in weakening a Daniel Ortega who incredibly seems to be about to get reelected in Nicaragua.  Still, in a couple of years from now, an "FTA area" of Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Peru and Chile could coalesce into a block strong enough to temper Brazil's ambitions and make Chavez, even if reelected, quite irrelevant.  Note that his admission into Mercosur, which will not solve any of his problems possibly aggravating them, is jeopardized by his refusal to abide to international treaties such as the ones on the IACHR, to give an example.  The world around Chavez is shrinking as his cancer bloats him.... and yet he does not see it.

Interestingly TeleSur now seems to reproach the US for sending a trade bill more than Colombia for asking for it.  If you read spanish enjoy that piece of convoluted reasoning about the FTA whose implications chavismo cannot quite understand but yet sense to be dangerous for their designs.  More interestingly, from across the aisle, a piece from the WSJ has a rather negative "feel" if you ask me making a strange convergence between TeleSur and WSJ.......

At any rate, even if late, I do appreciate the timing of the FTA submission as a bunch of idiots are trying to transform Wall Street into some Puerta del Sol....


  1. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Why don't you state the obvious:
    Obama is moving to the center as election time is approaching fast, while his popularity is lower than ever.
    Sleazy politics by Obama pretending to be something that he is not. It's going to be interesting how his union buddies react, it may backfire big time on him. Anything that makes the useless idiot not get reelected is fine with me.
    Neverless, I agree of course, bad news for HC and his ALBA shit, who announced and celebrated the death of the FTA more than once. He who has the last laugh.....


  2. Anonymous9:44 AM

    who said tea party is against trade?

  3. barqui

    well, we are about to find out, are we not?

  4. This is good news - long overdue, but I'll take it. It's been embarrassing to think about how the U.S. has treated its great friend, Colombia. I mean, Chavez treats his friends better. (Of course, that often means personal gifts, rather than things that are good for the whole country, but whatever.)

    You are right that the blackmailing goes on both sides of the aisle, and I admit I'm worried about how this will go. But the administration has been holding these off until they had the votes, so I suspect they've done the counting and are confident. Let's hope so.

    Bruni, it's not that the Tea Partiers are necessarily against the trade, but I personally know some Tea Party-leaners (if not more so) who also send around "Buy American" emails like they think that will solve all ills. It's not that big a step from their "home base" topics, really.

  5. AIO

    it was barqui, not bruni :)

  6. Ooops! Yeah. Tells you what kind of day I'm having...

    No offense, barqui!

  7. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Comparing The Tea Party with The Afl Cio shows just how little you know about either group.

    I doubt that the Afl Cio would find much to disagree with re. Chavez and co.

    The Tea Party would find nothing to argree with.

    One hell of a difference.

    Would you sooner live under the founding documents of Venezuela as they were written, or under the way the club wielding Chavez wants you to do things?

    You should stay out of the sun until your mind clears.

  8. RabbiBulla9:52 PM

    How do you give Chavez a- "shit scare" -how does one
    convince Chavez that he will
    lose? WOuld Chavez kill himself
    before the cancer kills him
    if he knew his dictatorship was
    Is anyone noticing Chavez has really toned down? And,not just
    Chavez-the whole Chavez junta..
    I continue to hope that Chavez will just resign-but,he's way past
    "the point of no return"now...
    I have no goodbyes for Chavez,only good riddance.

  9. Anonymous

    "comparing"? where?

    if anything, if you need a work desperately, use "equating"

  10. RabbiBulla10:17 PM

    I think we should "dream big"
    not just getting rid of Chavez-but blowing the chavista devolution away to be forgotten. Can we get back to a real, better life-I find myself dreaming too much I suppose..Is there anyone else out there who feels this way, too?

  11. Anonymous10:19 PM


    You said, I quote "It's been embarrassing to think about how the U.S. has treated its great friend, Colombia".

    Your statement, while true in principle, needs to be dissected a bit. It wasn't the whole US, it was predominantly the Democrats who blocked the FTA Treaty with Colombia. 

    Only now, because they see another GOP landslide election coming next year, are they putting the fake Republican like cloak on, in an effort of trying to avoid the inevitable.

    Same like when the Republicans tried to mimic Democrats in 2006. I remember some idiotic Republican Senator actually saying something as moronic as: "let's behave and vote with the Dems, so we will stay in power". That worked out real well, didn't it?

    Btw, I am one of those dumb redneck Teaparty supporters, so anybody that hates us so much, because, I guess, we are e.g. for smaller government and fiscal responsibility, go ahead, try me (in a civilized, debate fostering way please).


  12. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Aflcio cum Tea Party.

    The word cum means along with.

    So you in effect wrote the Afl Cio along with The Tea Party.

    Which means that you put them in the same class, and consider them comparative equals.

    The main thrust of my note was to point out that that the Afl Cio and the Tea Party are light years apart in their politics, and that the Afl Cio and Chavez are very alike in how they want to run things.

    You failed to get my point.


    You missed that part and instead want to shop straw

  13. anonymous mike?


    there was not such comparison and cum means with. had i been comparing anything i would have to go beyond the topic of the post which was limited to a single point: FTA.

    for all practical practical purposes both aflcio and tea party will be equally ineffectual and disruptive on that matter even if they come from opposite extremes.

    and since your tea partier red neck affinities were offended (your words), i have never made any mystery for my antipathies for the tea party or the aflcio for that matter. and not only on trade treaties. i am sorry that your black and white vision of life cannot understand that some folks can condemn all extreme visions. but that is, of course, your problem.

  14. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Dear Daniel,

    Your analysis re. the Tea Party being ineffectual is as wrong as it can be.

    By the way, I am neither a Tea Party member, nor am I anymore of a redneck than you are a frog.

    I am someone that believes in the Constitution of the United States.

    And inspite of what you espose, most things are black or white.

    Unless one wishes to portray oneself as an intellectual socialist
    all seeing moderate old woman.


  15. Wac

    but you certainly woudl fit quite well the tea party.

  16. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Absurdities spoken by inorant people

  17. Mike, I didn't take my analysis to that level - I was just thinking about being a gringo in LatAm, and hearing Latinos who have no care (even if they do have some understanding, which very many don't) about U.S. domestic politics point out that not passing the Colombia FTA was sending a terrible message to the hemisphere - so your point and mine don't contradict.

    That said, while I think the Dems in Congress do indeed deserve the lion's share of the blame for keeping things stalled for so long, I think a number of Reps (not just those in Congress) were happy to sit quietly and let things lie. You want evidence? Look at how the CAFTA vote went back in 2005. Consider how many Reps went against it, and how many others wanted to but were ordered to support it. And then consider how many of those, in "right-leaning" districts, got voted out in 2006.

    Opposition to free trade, whether it's ostensibly for supporting supporting labor or based on a patriotic, overly simplistic nationalism (or whatever else), is a bipartisan trait. Most unfortunately so. The motivations differ, but so what? Ignorance is blind.

    BTW, congressmen changing voting behavior "because they see another...landslide election coming" could be considered downright democratic (small d, to be sure). Voting the way the people want? What a concept! :)

  18. "who said tea party is against trade?"

    The Tea Partiers did:

    42% of Reps who did not consider themselves TPers and 40% of Dems said FTAs are good for the U.S., compared to just 24% of TPers.


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