The United States has no excuse not to approve the pending free trade agreement with Colombia, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Tuesday.
“I hope that the United States ratifies the deal with Colombia. They have no excuse [not to],” Uribe said in Madrid, Spain where he was attending an economic summit.
According to the former president, the U.S. cannot use labor rights as an argument to postpone ratification of the trade pact.
“Colombia was in the International Labour Organization’s list of sanctioned countries for 23 years. This year they excluded us completely from any sanction. This shows the effort Colombia has made,” Uribe said.
The former president added that the human rights situation in Colombia had improved during his administration. According to Uribe, a United Nations report “says that there has been a very positive development from 2002 to now.”
According to Uribe, the country’s armed forces were purged of allies of drug traffickers, “whose penetration in the institutions was the main cause of human rights violations.” This purge “leaves the armed forces of Colombia in the condition to have an outstanding performance on human rights.”
“I would say that with the support of these reports of the United Nations the U.S. Congress should not have a single excuse to not ratify the treaty,” the former president concluded.
Uribe and former U.S. President George W. Bush signed the FTA in 2006. However, the U.S. Congress and Bush’s successor Barack Obama have so far neglected to pass the deal, which must be ratified by Congress.