“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

U.S. – Colombian trade represents $18 billion annually

Rep. Wasserman Schultz meets with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to discuss U.S./Colombian relations.

Colombia is one of our most important allies in Latin America and can be instrumental in the economic revival of the Americas. Colombia is also having a rough time with a falling currency. It is a country where we can have a serious and balanced trade relationship. Here is a serious Democrat doing and saying the right thing.


Rep. Wasserman Schultz Completes High-Level Visit to Colombia

Meetings with Colombian President, Defense Minister, Attorney General, Foreign Relations Minister, Trade Minister, and Labor Officials focused on U.S./Colombian relations, trade, and continued cooperation

April 9, 2009 US House of Representatives

(Washington, DC) -- Rep. Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) has wrapped up a two day visit to Colombia meeting with senior government, military, and labor officials in both Cartagena and Medellin. The Congresswoman was part of an official Congressional delegation consisting of the following members of the House of Representatives: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-5), Roy Blunt (MO-7), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Joseph Crowley (NY-7), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Norm Dicks (WA-6), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-6), Lucille Roybal–Allard (CA-34), Aaron Schock (IL-18), and Adrian Smith (NE-3).

In Cartagena, the delegation met with President Álvaro Uribe, Defense Minister Santos, Foreign Relations Minister Bermudez, Trade Minister Plata, and the Mayor of Cartagena, Judith Pinedo. They were also briefed by Admiral Guillermo Barrera on narcotics interdiction and by the Center for Coordinated and Integrated Action Fusion Center which coordinates military, social, and government efforts to clear areas held by drug traffickers and restore stability and security.

“We have a significant and important Colombian-American population living here in South Florida,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “Additionally, U.S. – Colombian trade represents $18 billion annually, much of which flows through South Florida, resulting in jobs for our community. Our continued strong relationship with Colombia and the improved security situation within the country will help South Floridian residents and businesses as well as the Colombian people.”

Their trip to Cartagena also involved a site visit to the Indufrial AID project, which provides education, vocational training, and loans to start small businesses. This visit also allowed the delegation to meet with internally displaced persons (IDPs) and demobilized paramilitary members helped by the Indufrial AID project.

In Medellin, the delegation met with Attorney General Iguaran, and the Mayor of Medellin, Alonso Salazar. They also discussed the proposed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement with labor unions both for and against the trade pact and discussed internal security with demobilized paramilitary members.


  1. I said it before, I'll say it again: Every delegate brought down is a yes vote.

    It's those who won't...

    Colombia has earned it. Honestly.

    In spades.

  2. I've watched Wasserman Schultz for some years now as she rose through the Florida legislature and now into Congress. Putting her liberalism aside, she is a very impressive woman and a capable politician. She should be able to "write her own ticket" in the Democratic party.

  3. I think she (Wasserman Schultz) is a good person to have on board the pro Colombia side. Hopefully, she will be able to temper the pro union hot heads in the party.

  4. As promised:

    I just had breakfast with the commander of an Army fixed wing signals intelligence flight company; one of six in the world. He is 28 years old, looks 38, is stationed in Germany. Responsible for 75 soldiers, acts as judge and jury, father confessor, and commander. Current personnel issues include a pregnant soldier. At the ripe old age of 28, in addition to his "mission duties" he has to keep his 18 and 19 year olds "within the ditches". His company has detachments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like everyone in the military, his family copes with the work v. family demands of a military career.

    I tried to get him to tell me about the signals they are receiving especially from the FATA, SWAT and Quetta. Of course, he couldn't say much but I pressed him about whether they were hearing anything "alarming" and high level out of the Paki military. He was vague but I gathered there was some cause for concern. He did say that they recently missed bin Laden by thirty minutes.

    Attended Furman University, joined ROTC, at the end of one year helicopter school in Fort Rucker, he was moved into fixed-wing and 7 years later has responsibilities and a life that could only come with a military career. I asked if he had any job openings for a 56 year old man. He just laughed and said that thanks to the economy, the military was having no problems meeting recruiting goals.

  5. Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed your breakfast company, whit.

    It probably goes without saying: I have an enormous, everlasting respect for the American officer. (I've known some real pieces of work, but I don't count them.) Odes to soldiers there are many, and rightly so. USM officers hold a special place in my heart.

    Coming up on my 23rd anniversary this month, to one officer in particular who never ceases to amaze me. I miss him terribly this time around.