Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Thursday again asked U.S. Congress to ratify the pending free trade agreement between the two countries.
In his New Year’s speech, Uribe told the Americans to take into consideration how many successes his government has had in improving security and the human rights situation in Colombia.
However, the ongoing killings of workers from labor organisations, recent scandals involving the state intelligence agency DAS, the reported killings of thousands of civilians by Colombia’s armed forces, and an ongoing clash with the country’s Supreme Court over the prosecution of politicians with links to paramilitary death squads have stalled the ratification of the pact in Congress.
The President asks Washington why it has ratified free trade pacts with other countries, but not with Colombia.
“The United States need to recognize the efforts we are making, we are the leading country in the fight against drug trafficking, we have had the most intense war against terrorism and have done it all under supervision of the international community,” Uribe said on Thursday.
“Our problem with terrorism has been so big that we could have followed the bad example of others and refuse international supervision … we have done none of that,” Uribe continued.
The president hopes that, after dealing with the proposal to reform the U.S. health care system, Congress will prioritize the FTA with Colombia.
“These democratic values need to be recognized by the international community. Because of this we expect U.S. Congress to quickly ratify the treaty with Colombia,” Uribe said.
The Colombia-U.S. FTA was signed by Uribe and former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008, but has been receiving resistance from the Democratic majority in U.S. Congress.