Economics and Globalization

U.S. Comes Out on Top in Trade Deal with Colombia

Category: Economics and Globalization, US Foreign Policy
By · March 6, 2006 · Comment

A rather strange sequence of events occurred in the final days of February related to the so-called free trade agreement negotiated between the Bush and Uribe administrations. With great fanfare, both the U.S. and Colombian governments announced that they had finally reached agreement on a free trade pact on February 27. Among other things, the deal calls for Colombia to eliminate tariffs on 82 percent of U.S. imports with the remainder to be phased out over ten years. The next day, however, the Uribe administration announced that the government would begin providing subsidies and loans to farmers who are likely to be hurt by the free trade deal. In reality, the proposed subsidies amount to little more than a band-aid applied to a major hemorrhaging of Colombia’s protectionist barriers. Read more»

Despite FTAA Defeat at Americas Summit, Free Trade to Be Imposed on Colombians

Category: Economics and Globalization, US Foreign Policy
By · November 7, 2005 · Comment

When it became clear that the closing declaration of the recent Summit of the Americas would not endorse the U.S.-pushed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), President George W. Bush boarded Air Force One and departed Argentina before the summit had concluded. In the aftermath of the U.S. failure in Argentina, the Bush administration continues to work for bilateral or sub-regional free trade agreements throughout the Americas. On November 14, negotiators from the United States, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will meet in an attempt to finalize a U.S.-Andean region free trade agreement. Read more»

Living in the IMF’s World

Category: Economics and Globalization
By · October 17, 2005 · Comment

It is difficult to decide whether officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are blind, stubborn, ignorant or all of the above. On the same day that tens of thousands of Colombians marched through the streets of Bogotá to protest a proposed free trade agreement with the United States, Anoop Singh, the IMF’s director for Latin America, said that the elections in nine Latin American nations next year are “an important opportunity for continuing with reforms that have already raised growth in the region.” In other words, Singh believes that Latin Americans have an “opportunity” to endorse the IMF-imposed neoliberal model by electing leaders who will continue implementing structural reforms. Why, given the recent swing to the Left of Latin American voters, continuing widespread protests against neoliberal policies and the growing regional popularity of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s anti-neoliberalism, would Singh for a minute imagine that Latin American voters would turn to the Right? Read more»

Is a Redistributive Political Project Viable in Colombia?

Category: Economics and Globalization, Politics and Democracy
By · October 3, 2005 · Comment

While many countries in South America have taken a turn to the left, Colombia’s presidency remains in the hands of right-winger Alvaro Uribe. Furthermore, many representatives in Colombia’s Congress are ideologically aligned with the country’s president. Consequently, the national government has done little to address the gross economic inequalities prevalent in Colombia. If anything, the neoliberal policies implemented by the Uribe administration have exacerbated the situation for the 64 percent of Colombians living in poverty. Meanwhile, next door in Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez continues to implement his hugely popular “revolution for the poor.” The stark contrast between the two governments’ approach to poverty begs the question: Is a redistributive political project viable in Colombia? Read more»

Colombian Government Tries to Woo UK Investors

Category: Economics and Globalization
By · July 4, 2005 · Comment

At a conference organized by the British and Colombian Chamber of Commerce in London on June 29, Colombian ministers and leading members of the Colombian private sector presented a rosy picture of their country to foreign investors, pointing to the excellent investment climate in Colombia. Sabas Pretelt, Colombia’s minister of the interior and justice, discussed President Alvaro Uribe’s democratic security and paramilitary demobilization programs, while Jorge Humberto Botero, minister of industry, trade and tourism, explained why Colombia needed to apply more free-market reforms. Read more»

Economic Sovereignty: A Prerequisite to Broad-Based Development

Category: Economics and Globalization, Politics and Democracy
By · March 7, 2005 · Comment

In order to address the failure of neoliberalism’s one-size-fits-all approach to improve the standard of living of most people in the Third World, there needs to be a restructuring of the global economic system. Beginning in the 1970s and escalating dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s, the United States and international financial institutions began forcing Third World nations to abandon Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) and begin implementing neoliberal economic reforms. Two factors were instrumental in allowing this to happen: the winding down and eventual end of the Cold War, and the massive foreign debts incurred by many Third World nations. In Colombia’s case, relatively low levels of foreign debt during the ISI era meant that the implementation of neoliberalism occurred later than in most other Third World nations. When neoliberal reforms were applied, however, they wrought the same devastating economic consequences for Colombians as those experienced by other peoples in the South. The solution to the Third World’s economic plight partly lies in orchestrating the return of economic policymaking to national governments. Read more»

FENSUAGRO: Organic Class-Consciousness in Rural Colombia

Category: Economics and Globalization
By · February 21, 2005 · Comment

Encouraged by the historic counterinsurgency policies of the United States, the Colombian government and military has supported the implementation of a “draining the sea” political counterinsurgent policy within its pseudo-sovereign borders. As historically recognized, the rural populations of Colombia have systematically been the targets of structured class-based violence, state-induced displacement and paramilitary legitimization constructed to expand natural resource monopolization in the hands of private interests. Prior to and during la Violencia much of the violence realized was not solely against the growing urban populace, but was greatly aimed toward the peripheries. It is in this context that an organized formation of campesinos (peasants) arranged themselves in a manner that would ideologically and materially respond to, not only their immediate exploitive conditions of repression, but also create a long-term solution to prolong their defense of rational agriculture. Based on these roots, FENSUAGRO (Federación Nacional Sindical Unitaria Agropecuaria/ The National Federation of Agricultural Farming Unions) was created. Read more»