According to the WSJ, Colombia has just taken more decisive action to confront the drug lords that have been decimating that country for years.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's main excuse for trying to kill the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is that Colombian President Álvaro Uribe winks at atrocities by his country's illegal paramilitary groups. The charge has always been false, and yesterday Mr. Uribe proved it by extraditing 14 "para" leaders to the U.S.The tone of the WSJ article as well as the Gateway Pundit piece that I found it through is quite cynical. Neither source expects anything to change regarding the free trade deal. I don't disagree. Pelosi's insistence that Colombia wasn't doing enough to confront its criminal element was always a trojan horse. Anyone that has been following the transformation in Colombia since Uribe has taken over knows full well that he will one day be their George Washington. What he has done in that country is truly remarkable and the stats speak for themselves. Anyone who has followed to evolution of this trade deal knows full well that Pelosi has sold out our biggest ally in the Western Hemisphere in order to pander to the unions. I welcome anyone to debate me on that issue if they think I am wrong.
The 14 include major paramilitary leaders who have been engaged in a long struggle against FARC terrorists. Mr. Uribe has been fighting the FARC even as he has tried to reduce violence by the "paras," who have sometimes been complicit in killing trade unionists. The 14 have been serving time in Colombian prisons for various offenses and are wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking. They had been arrested under a Justice and Peace law that allowed them to avoid extradition if they agreed to certain conditions.
But Mr. Uribe said yesterday that the 14 had failed to honor those commitments, which included compensating their victims. The popular two-term president said some of them were continuing to run criminal gangs from prison, and so they were put on Drug Enforcement Agency aircraft for the flight to face trial in the U.S.
I would rather focus on something nearly as important. The fourteen that have been extradited are really bad guys. They make their livings trafficking drugs that ultimately wind up killing lots of folks, and then use those profits to commit acts of terror both in Colombia and elsewhere. Now, they will face their day of justice in an American court.
Whether or not this will lead to the trade deal being consummated is one issue. The fact that these folks are heading toward justice is a good thing either way.