|A cartoon in El Tiempo asks what the point is of a Free Trade Agreement with China when almost everything is already imported from China, anyway.|
|Great Wall motors |
advertises in Colombia.
|Juan Manel Santos with a Chinese leader in China. |
The headline says that China wants Colombian oil and coal.
|Men play Chinese chess in a restaurant in central Bogotá.|
Colombia has a tiny Chinese population, many of
whom come here as a way-station
to the United States.
More cheap Chinese goods will further devastate Colombia's industry, turning Colombia into a nation of shopkeepers trying to sell Chinese products to Colombians without the incomes to purchase them.
|Colombia's growing trade deficit with China.|
|Home appliance stores in downtown Bogota. Many of there |
products are from China, as is the truck parked on the street.
(It's striking how similar China's relationship with the developing world is to that of the old colonial powers and the United States - but the same leftists who harshly criticized the developed capitalist world keep mum about China, because it's 'socialist.')
|A Chinese-made SUV in Bogotá. The next instant,|
the vehicle accelerated and coughed out a trail of
But there's something even more troubling about buddying up to China. China has demonstrated that an authoritarian government can keep its population quiet by providing strong economic growth and restricting basic freedoms, including freedom of speech.
That formula could be tempting to many Latin leaders weary of harsh criticism in the media and frequent street protests.
But that system is not only a bad thing, but also probably not realistic in Latin America, whose culture is so fundamentally different from China's.
|Chinese-made lightbulbs for sale near San Victorino. |
Why can't Colombia make its own lightbulbs?