|The scene in north Bogotá after today's car bomb.|
|In the evening in La Candelaria: |
'The people provide the dead.'
Which dead and which people
do they mean?
The bomb went off in wealthy north Bogotá, which is how the presumably leftist bombers likely justified it to themselves - but on the street there were likely rich and poor, young and old, lawyers, maids, students and street cleaners; supporters and opponents of the FTA. And the target, ex-Minister Fernando Londoño himself was only lightly injured. Two people were killed and dozens injured.
The attack caused Pres. Juan Manuel Santos to cancel a trip to Cartagena, where he was to inaugurate the Free Trade Agreement. But that's no more than a formality - the agreement, good or bad, will be implemented anyway.
|A group, who I suspect would call themselves |
anarco-communists, walk toward the protest.
|'Señores: This nation is not for sale or rent.'|
|Satire: 'For Sale: Colombia. Great savings! |
For info, see Juan Manuel Santos.'
If the attack was directed at Londoño personally rather than the government generally, then it'll likely accomplish the opposite of what they want. Londoño was already barred from holding public office for 15 years, of which eight remain, for alledgedly favoring a private company for which he had worked. Now, Londoño will will become the object of sympathy and a sort of hero, and his influence will rebound.
|Uncle Sam carries a hammer labeled 'TLC.'|
|Coffee icon Juan Valdez orders Yankees to go home.|
I agree that the FTA will likely harm Colombia overall. Some industries, such as flowers and exotic fruit will benefit. But it'll open the country to a flood of cheap, sometimes subsidized, agricultural goods. (A report issued yesterday by non-governmental human rights organizations concluded that the FTA will harm 70% of the country's peasants.) The government insists that the FTA will benefit Colombia macroeconomically. That might be true, if the GDP grows as a result as Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Natural Resources scoop more material out of the ground and ship it overseas. But isn't a nation supposed to worry first about its poorest, like those peasants who will be overwhelmed by foreign agri-business? And, how about the country's quality of life, as more foreign cars and motorcycles clog the streets and poison the air, while Colombia's domestic car assembly plants go idle?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours