Democrats Beholden to Protectionist Unions

by Sean Hackbarth

The Colombia free trade pact remains stalled in Congress while Colombia’s president Alvaro Uribe has made concession after concession to win over Democrats. He’s extradited right-wing paramilitaries to stand trial in the U.S. on drug charges and didn’t intervene when his cousin was arrested. The LA Times editorial board noticed Uribe’s efforts probably won’t help get the deal through Congress. That’s because Democrats “don’t want to alienate their organized-labor backers during an election year.” This is despite a decline in union member assassinations in Colombia the Democrats’ biggest complaint. Do Democrats really want to sacrifice a possible $1.1 billion (PDF) in additional U.S. exports and hurt a friend in a region where anti-Americanism is on the rise? That seems very shortsighted to me.

“Democrats’ Colombia Disconnect”

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