April 24, 2008

THE POLITICS OF THE LEFT...

Better Roses Than Cocaine (NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, 4/24/08, NY Times)

In Latin America, it is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who are seen as the go-it-alone cowboys, by opposing the United States’ free-trade agreement with Colombia.

Some Democrats claim that they are against the pact because Colombia has abused human rights. Those concerns are legitimate — but they shouldn’t be used to punish people like Norma Reynosa, a 35-year-old woman who just may snip the flowers that go into the Mother’s Day bouquet that you buy.

Human rights aren’t abstract to Ms. Reynosa. Two of her relatives were killed in the brutal warfare and insecurity that plague her home region in Colombia’s South. A third was killed by a land mine, and a fourth was kidnapped at age 12 to work for guerrillas in the National Liberation Army, or the ELN. Ms. Reynosa ran a small restaurant but had to flee when the guerrillas demanded that she pay more extortion money than she could afford.

“They said they would kill us,” she recalled. “They didn’t say how. Mostly they just shot people and threw their bodies in the river.”

So in June 2005, Ms. Reynosa and her husband abandoned their home and fled to the outskirts of the capital to see if they could get jobs in the booming flower industry. Colombian cities like Medellín were the most dangerous cities in the world in the 1980s and ’90s, but now they are thriving and homicide rates are well below those of some American cities.

One reason is those bouquets you buy, entering duty-free from Colombia. These days Colombia is the world’s second-largest exporter of flowers after the Netherlands, and almost 200,000 people work in the flower industry. Up to 28 cargo planes a day carry flowers from Colombia to the U.S.

Better carnations than cocaine, no?


...is based on emotion, rather than thought, so we ought not expect them to reconsider their conventional wisdom, but here's an exercise it would be interesting to see Mr. Kristof engage in: sit down with a folded piece of paper and on one side write down the world leaders/countries who would be glad to see Obama elected and on the other those who would prefer Bush/McCain.

Hugo
Mahmoud
Hu
Vlad
Baby Assad
Kim Jong-il
Mugabe
Spain....


Pope
Maliki
Karzai
Abbas
Olmert
Harper
Calderon
Sarkozy
Merkel

Klaus...

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2008 6:00 PM
Comments

Very instructive.

Of course, the media would go nuts. Just imagine Olbermann's reaction. Or Katie Couric's. Or Walter Cronkite's.

But that says it all.

Posted by: ratbert at April 24, 2008 11:52 PM
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