July 12, 2007


A hero at home, a villain abroad : Colombians reckon that Álvaro Uribe saved their country. It's a pity for them that so many outsiders don't see their president that way (The Economist, 7/12/07)

WHEN hundreds of thousands of Colombians poured into the streets on July 5th to protest at the killing of 11 hostages who had been held by the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), President Álvaro Uribe chose to read this as support for his tough security policies. “This demonstration is notice to the international community that we cannot, in this hour of pain, give in to the criminals,” he said. But much of the “international community” no longer sees events in Colombia in the way most Colombians do.

At home Mr Uribe is seen as the saviour of a country that was in danger of being turned into a failed state by the rampaging violence of drug-traffickers, left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries. Since he took office in 2002, violence has fallen sharply. As confidence returns, the economy is growing at 8% a year. According to Invamer-Gallup, a pollster, Mr Uribe's approval rating has remained steady at between 70% and 80% over the past year. [...]

At the end of June the Democratic leadership in America's House of Representatives announced that it would oppose ratification of a free-trade agreement with Colombia until it could see “concrete evidence of sustained results” on reducing violence, on punishing the killings of trade unionists and on prosecuting politicians with links to paramilitaries.

...means siding with drug running thugs against an ally whose saved his country's democracy, history shows us that the Democrats won't hesitate. Heck, most of them still wish Sal Allende had turned Chile into a Marxist hellhole rather than have Augusto Pinochet turn it into the most advanced country in Latin America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2007 4:15 PM
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