05 February 2008

Peligro en Venezuela (Danger in Venezuela)

I had a conversation with someone last week where we discussed the reasons for Latin America's failure to develop as rapidly as the emerging Asian economies. Among other things, the penchant of Latin Americans to elect demagogues like Hugo Chavez dooms many nations to perpetual mediocrity.

Recently Hugo Chavez recognized the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a legitimate political actor, deserving the same recognition as a state. In the Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O'Grady compares Chavez to the former Argentine dictator Galtieri. Galteiri orchestrated some sketchy foreign policy to cover the extremely poor state of the Argentine economy, among his moves the seizure of the Falklands from Great Britain. Chavez' recognition of the terrorist FARC seemed calculated to provoke a conflict with Colombia, timed to cover Venezuela's deteriorating economy.

As O'Grady explains, Colombia did not take the bait and instead made some smart diplomatic moves, including reaffirming the support of France, Spain, and E.U. officials. Fortunately for freedom-lovers (and unfortunately for Chavez) his political misfire has not gone unnoticed.

Gateway Pundit has an excellent round-up of photos and articles about anti-FARC protests that took place in Colombia yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in solidarity with their government and to protest the actions of the FARC (including kidnapping, drug trafficking, and extortion).

I have no doubt that FARC is a terrorist organization. The last two Colombian presidents have made consistent efforts to fight terrorism in their country. The current president, Uribe has been particularly impactful. We have an opportunity to stand in solidarity with their efforts in support of freedom and the rule of law by supporting trade agreements with Colombia. I hope you will urge your legislators to support that initiative.

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