U.S. Congress is unlikely to ratify free trade agreement with Colombia this year, U.S. ambassador to Bogota, William Brownfied, announced on Friday.
“If you offered me a bet on the likelihood that the agreement is approved by Congress this year, I probably would not accept it,” said Brownfield. “Congress has never approved a trade agreement during an election year.”
The ambassador said that although the deal would benefit both countries, and is supported by President Barack Obama, there is strong opposition from “certain groups.”
The deal was signed by both countries in late 2006, but has yet to be ratified by U.S. Congress, due to Democratic concerns about Colombia’s record on human rights and the persecution of organised labour.
The UN has declared the extrajudicial killings by the military, known as “false positives,” to be a “crime against humanity,” while a recent film about Colombian labor rights says that more than 470 workers’ leaders have been killed in the country since 2002, making it “the trade-union murder capital of the world.”