Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pres BO was too busy opposing free trade agreements and did not see "the Colombia miracle"

The Cartagena "call girl" scandal will pass.  It was very embarrassing but it will pass and life will go on.

More importantly, people will say this about the Cartagena summit:  Pres BO does not have a Latin America policy and was caught totally off guard by the Colombia miracle.   

Pres BO showed up without an agenda or much interest in what goes on south of the border, from the dangerous situation in Guatemala to the influence of China.

Frankly, it was not that big of a surprise that Pres BO would show up without "an agenda".  

Pres BO's presidency has lacked "an agenda" for Latin America and everything else, from serious entitlement reform to explaining to US voters what we are still doing in Afghanistan.  

It has been a presidency of "cliches" or telling people what they want to hear.  It worked at the beginning when too many were caught up in "Obama-mania" and rather silly expectations.  It does not work anymore.

Worst of all, Pres BO's lack of interest in Latin America led him to miss "The Colombia Miracle" or how that country turned itself around with responsible leadership, (Pres Uribe) and a strong relationship with the US, i.e. Plan Colombia. 

Colombia is attracting investment and developing a middle class, as The Washington Post reports on their recent editorial.    

It is a major success story in US-Latin America relations.  It started with Pres Clinton and continued by Pres GW Bush.  (TIME has a long article: Colombia Rising)

Pres BO's "Colombia problem" is that he spent much of his candidacy and presidency "bad mouthing" the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  He did so irresponsibly and demagogically.   Worse of all, he did so without regard for Pres Uribe and the Colombian people who were fighting a domestic insurgency.

What do you do when you don't have "an agenda" or overlook Colombia, the aforementioned success story.

What do you do?  You show up in Cartagena without an agenda and prove to the world that you are in over your head.

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