Letter received 7/19/2007
I read very carefully your “analysis” called Colombian Free Trade Pact Shot Down: One Step Forward for the U.S., One Back for Canada. Sincerely this opinion article, coming from a reputed organization such as yours that says it’s a non partisan, independent NGO or think tank, has so many tilted statements that it leaves much to be desired to be even called an analysis.
Let’s start with the title. It already has an opinion in it which, if you read carefully, is supported with phrases that also only can be called political statements. Let me pinpoint some:
“This is merely the latest devastating blow to the standing of Colombia’s hard-line right-wing president, Àlvaro Uribe, whose disapproval rating hit a high of 27 percent in a Gallup Poll published on July 14”. Sure any president in its fifth year with an approval of 65 % must be having “devastating” political problems.
“As well his imperious removal of Washington’s long-favored policy of being able to extradite Colombian felons upon request”. More than 500 extraditions in 5 years, ‘Rasguño’ one of the biggest drug traffickers in the world sent today, can disclaim this political statement.
“President Uribe, when he was not squandering money on U.S. public relations firms…”. It leaves me with no words.
“…appalling number of more than three million displaced Colombian civilians has kept Bogotá in the crossfire of criticism for its daily derelictions of such internally displaced persons, Uribe’s indifference to issues of social injustice and Colombian’s incredibly unequal distribution of wealth”. Whenever your analysts want to see the amount of money Colombia spends on attending displacement or the reduction in unemployment, or the growth in the number of people with state health coverage or access to education, to just give you some examples, they are welcome to get them so their analysis can be a little more informed.
“Harper clearly feels more at home with vending Canadian products to the region rather than Canadian ideals and has staunchly supported his decision to trade with Bogotá despite calls that he should refuse to do so due to that country’s appalling human rights record.” Wow! This really is an analytical phrase that needs to be recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records for its depth in intellectual achievement.
I don’t want to go further in the analysis of your political commentary that does a disservice to your organization. A couple of editors, that with the crisis in the newspaper industry shouldn’t be to difficult to get, could seriously improve your document in terms of making them real analysis that have truthful elements into it and therefore improve the debate about Colombia and the US which, I think, is the main purpose of your organization.
Francisco Santos Calderón
Vicepresidente de Colombia