Monday, June 15, 2009

Here comes Alvaro!

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will visit with Obama in Washington on June 29, the White House announced Friday. The WH statement makes no mention of discussing human rights.

Uribe has been a frequent visitor in recent years; he comes, among other reasons, to lobby members of congress to approve the free trade agreement, and to woo business leaders and editorial board writers on the subject, so they can then influence members of congress.

Impressively, the Democrats in congress have held firm. Now what?

Reuters notes
Obama, who also opposed the trade deal during last year's presidential election, asked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in April to work with Congress and Colombia to establish "benchmarks" for Bogota to meet in reducing killings of trade unionists and increasing prosecutions.

Here's what to expect: editorial pages large and small will use the opportunity to criticize Obama, saying he needs to get over his qualms and the pressures from those pesky labor unions, and make the trade deal a reality. It's perfect for the big editorial pages -- they've mostly liked a lot of what Obama has done, but here they'll have the perfect place to criticize him from the right.

Uribe was most recently darlinged by Newsweek, which said it was a good thing that he got his congress to extend the term limits to a second term.


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