The Washington Post praises Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos as a “strong and needed U.S. ally,” and calls on President Barack Obama to move forward with the Colombian free trade deal.
The glowing editorial hails Santos as a market-friendly defender of press freedom and human rights, and calls his predecessor President Alvaro Uribe “one of the most successful presidents in modern Latin American history.”
Santos “has demonstrated that pro-American, pro-free-market politicians still have life in Latin America,” says the Post, in contrast to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s “authoritarian socialism.”
The newspaper criticises the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, which it accuses of treating Colombia as an enemy by blocking the free trade agreement and reducing military aid.
The election of Santos is “an opportunity to revitalize the relationship” between the U.S. and Colombia, says the conservative-leaning daily.
Meanwhile the Miami Herald also welcomed Santos’ election, but said that he will have to prioritize human rights. The newspaper also called on Santos to include his rival for the presidency, Green candidate Antanas Mockus, in government, saying that this would help unify the country.
A free trade agreement was signed between the U.S. and Colombia in 2006, but has since stalled in the North Americans’ Congress due to human rights concerns on the part of Democratic representatives.