Defense Department officials have favored the pact as a way to reward Colombia for its successful effort at beating back drug trafficking and the country's insurgency.Colombia has been a bright shining example of the progress of freedom in the last two decades.
At a news conference in Bogota, the Colombian capital, Gates said he met this week with James L. Jones, the White House national security advisor, to discuss an administration push for congressional ratification of the accord.
"I would hope we would be in a position to make a renewed effort to get ratification of the free trade agreement," Gates said. "It is a good deal for Colombia; it is also a good deal for the United States."
President Obama was skeptical about the agreement as a senator and during his presidential campaign, citing Colombia's record of labor crackdowns. But after meeting last year with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Obama said Bogota had made progress on human rights issues and ordered U.S. trade officials to move ahead on the deal.
Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Bogota was pleased by the Obama administration's growing support for the accord.
"This agreement will help further consolidate security in Colombia," Silva said.
This isn't an American issue - this is a human rights issue. Along with Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras - among others to the south - Colombia deserves our friendship and help. This is easy. This is right.
This will also help make up for some of the interventions we have made in the past. Treat your friends as equals and they will be your friends.
Easy win ... if we can get past our own leftists.
Oh, and if you follow the Colombia tag, you will find other reasons to get, ahem, closer to Colombia. LBG can explain further if needed.