John McCain announced Tuesday that he will make a campaign trip to Colombia next week. The Republican presidential candidate is expected to talk about trade relations — a trade deal between the two countries is pending–and drug traffic from the Latin American country.
“It is a vital ally in our struggle against the scourge of drugs, a great amount of cocaine that comes into the United States of America as we know comes from Colombia,” the Arizona senator said during a press conference in Riverside, Calif.
McCain told reporters he has traveled to Colombia before, and he emphasized his strong relationship with President Alvaro Uribe.
“I know the struggle that nation has undergone,” McCain said, adding that he was going there to thank Uribe for his efforts to strengthen the ties with the U.S.
Now, someone did remind him to ask about the US citizens being held hostage there, right? Or did that slip his mind? One would think that McCain would be savvy enough to maybe casually mention the the names of the three men who are being held down there and that he would promise to try to do whatever it takes to secure their freedom and bring comfort to their families, right? Well, if all you care about is free trade and cocaine and making sure people remember that, yes, Obama used cocaine that probably came from Colombia, well, the fate of three hard luck aviators shot down and held hostage doesn't really rate a mention when you're campaigning for President, does it?
And, right on cue. Someone at Fox News sure was being cute today:
In announcing the trip and citing his friendship with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, the Arizona senator sought contrasts with his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
McCain said Obama opposes U.S. anti-drug aid for the world’s largest producer of cocaine and also is against the free-trade agreement, despite having described himself as a proponent of free trade.
Gee, what are you implying? That Obama wants Colombia to let more cocaine into the US?
Do you think this might explain why?
[posted April 3, 2008] Colombian President Alvaro Uribe revealed his worry about the US presidential contest this week to the Bogotá daily El Tiempo: “I deplore that Senator Obama, aspiring to be president of the US, ignores Colombia’s efforts.”
By “efforts,” Uribe referred to his administration’s public relations campaign to improve Colombia’s deserved reputation as the hemisphere’s worst abuser of human rights, particularly as they apply to workers and unions. Senator Barack Obama, on Wednesday, had cited “the violence against unions in Colombia” as his primary reason for opposing a proposed US-Colombia “free trade” agreement.
There you have it--John McCain is now enlisting Alvaro Uribe in his campaign for the Presidency. How else to explain the decision to travel down there? It used to be that when a US presidential candidate even made a casual mention of being a "favorite" of foreign leaders, the right wing in this country would go ballistic.
My, how the times have changed.
[And, yes, I usually do mess up and spell it "Columbia" - thanks!]