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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put the US - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement on the back burner - apparently permanently. "The Colombia FTA is dead on arrival," explained Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), co-founder of the House Trade Working Group. "Congress can't take up an agreement with Colombia until the horrific violence and labor-rights record are addressed."
So it's not sheer protectionism that drives the Democrats and Big Labor, as the deal's supporters claim. It's "horrific violence," especially against unions. John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, claims, "In Colombia, joining a union or advocating for workers' rights can be a de facto death sentence."
Last year's overall murder rate was down 40 percent since 2002, while deaths among Colombia's union members plummeted even farther - a drop of 86 percent in a decade. Further, the murder rate for union members is about an eighth that of the population at large. Sadly, it's the pact that has effectively been killed. Read more here.