Dear madam Secretary:
I have read very carefully your speech on behalf of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement before the Organization of American States. In it, you echo the thesis of Colombia as a state on the verge of failure and a safe haven for narco-terrorists not seven years ago. I must strongly disagree with this distorted and unfair optic.
Let me remind madam Secretary of my joint authorship -alongside the vision and courage of President Bill Clinton- of Plan Colombia and the Free Trade Agreement initiative. My commitment against drugs and terrorism dates from way before my kidnapping by the drug cartels. During my administration all drug dealers solicited by the U.S. government, previous consent of our Supreme Court, were extradited with no exceptions, concessions, deals or pacts.
The success of my government in getting Colombia back in the track of democracy, economic recovery, military efficiency and dignified return to the international scene has been a matter of ample bipartisan recognition in the United States.
“Thank you for your leadership during your term as president of Colombia. You have strengthened Colombian democracy, fought illegal drugs, and worked for the security of all Colombians”, stated President George W. Bush about my administration. “The relationship between Colombia and the United States has never been stronger. It is founded on shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, free trade, and regional security. I look forward to working with the next administration to build on the close ties that you have helped foster”, he concludes, not seven years ago.
As a Colombian citizen and former president of my country I view the troubled state of the Free Trade Agreement with immense and deep concern. Paraphrasing the words of 43 prominent U.S. democrats quoted in your speech, I am convinced that rejecting the Free Trade agreements would set back our countries´ development cooperation for a generation.
Former President of Colombia