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August 24, 2006 [LINK]
Free trade deals at risk
Export-oriented enterprises in Colombia are getting very worried that the free trade agreement with the United States will not be renewed by the end of the year, in which case many of them might go out of business. What would the laid-off workers do? Take jobs with coca-processors or narcotraffickers, of course.* The problem is that the Bush administration is reluctant to put the matter before Congress in the middle of an electoral campaign in which control of the legislative branch hangs in the balance. See CNN.com. President Uribe is without question the strongest U.S. ally in all of Latin America, and what is more, he won reelection earlier this year by a large majority. In other words, no one can call him a puppet or lackey. The people of Colombia see the ugly face of terrorism up close, like the people who live or work in lower Manhattan. They are on our side in this struggle, and it would be stupid to let them down. It is time for President Bush to put short-term political considerations aside, and lay it on the line to the American people: Free trade with friendly countries in Latin America is a matter of vital national interest to the United States.
* An excellent movie that dramatizes precisely this excruciating personal dilemma is Maria, Full of Grace. It's about a young Colombian woman who is laid off, needs money to support a child, and tries to get rich quick by smuggling condoms full of cocaine to the United States. It is a gruesome and very hard-hitting portrayal of life in that part of Latin America. See the Internet Movie Database.
"Macacas" in Brazil!
Virginia Sen. George Allen sparked an uproar last week about the obscure foreign slang term "macaca," and thanks to Chris Green, I've learned that it is also the name of a soccer team in Brazil. They even have their own blog: Blog de Macaca! By way of explanation in English, according to answers.com,
The club's mascot is a female monkey (Macaca) wearing Ponte Preta's home kit. The mascot reflects racism against the club (one of the first Brazilian teams to accept blacks, having been even refused participation in championships due to this). Just as Palmeiras fans, the supporters adopted the mascot instead of taking offence from it.
This also reflects the more light-hearted way racial differences are treated in Latin America compared to the United States. Overtly racist fat-lipped caricatures of black people are still common in most of the region, and Mexico created a controversy last year when it released postage stamps showing such cartoon characters. Rev. Jesse Jackson demanded an apology from President Fox, who demurred.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 24 Aug 2006, 5: 14 PM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
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This (or that) year's
January 7, 2006 ~ DeLay gives up majority leader post
January 12, 2006 ~ Alito withstands Dems' "torture"
January 16, 2006 ~ Michelle Bachelet wins in Chile
January 19, 2006 ~ Views on Iran's nuclear ambitions
January 24, 2006 ~ Fallout from Canada's election
January 31, 2006 ~ Second (& third) thoughts on Iran
February 1, 2006 ~ The State of the Union, 2006
February 8, 2006 ~ D.C. Council votes "yes," but...
February 18, 2006 ~ Checks and balances in wartime
February 22, 2006 ~
Neocons & Neolibs: chastened alike
February 28, 2006 ~
The Dubai Ports World uproar
March 14, 2006 ~ New D.C. baseball stadium unveiled
March 24, 2006 ~ In the footsteps of France?
April 7, 2006 ~ Immigration compromise fails
May 16, 2006 ~ Bush militarizes Mexican border
June 6, 2006 ~ Alan Garcia triumphs, once again
June 9, 2006 ~
Zarqawi: The death of a terrorist
July 3, 2006 ~
Election in Mexico: too close to call
July 5, 2006 ~ North Korea goes ballistic
July 28, 2006 ~ Garcia prepares to lead Peru, again
August 4, 2006 ~ Israel invades Hezbolland
September 6, 2006 ~ "Crunchy conservatives": for real?
September 25, 2006 ~ Nationalists thwart conservation
October 3, 2006 ~ Nationals: Year in review
October 29, 2006 ~ Virginia's marriage amendment
November 7, 2006 ~ The people render their verdict
November 8, 2006 ~ Republicans lose big time
November 9, 2006 ~ Allen concedes / Election post-mortem
November 13, 2006 ~ Toward consensus on Iraq?
December 1, 2006 ~ Realism and our goals in Iraq
December 6, 2006 ~ Latin America & U.S. trade policy
December 8, 2006 ~ Iraq Study Group reports
December 22, 2006 ~ Yuletide political roundup
Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.
The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
- Wild birds (LAST)
- Science & Technology
- Latin America
- Culture & Travel
- Canaries ("Home birds")
- Baseball (FIRST)
Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)