Kathryn Lopez

McCain's position is sharply different from that of the Democratic opponent he'll most likely face in November. Barack Obama, while making plans to meet with the Iranian president, has already alienated Colombia's. In April, he declared: "I'll also oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement if President Bush insists on sending it to Congress because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements."

Uribe immediately responded: "I deplore the fact that Sen. Obama, aspiring to be president of the United States, should be unaware of Colombia's efforts. I think it is for political calculations that he is making a statement that does not correspond to Colombia's reality."

The Democrats' slam of Uribe only fuels an already hostile political environment. Latin America is a region that lacks a good-neighbor policy. Ecuador and Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia last year after a Colombian raid killed Raul Reyes, the No. 2 FARC commander. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico condemned Colombia's actions. Chavez ordered troops to the Colombian/Venezuelan border.

Chavez will delight in and be emboldened by the failure of the CFTA, which will be seen as Uribe's failure to get a vote of confidence from the world's No. 1 superpower. Chavez has already used it as a rhetorical weapon on state-run television. He has insanely accused Uribe of running a "genocidal government." For Congress to hand Chavez this victory would be a shameful and dangerous act. When Cubans finally taste freedom again, will they be alone or have a friend in the area?

The choice is up to the Pelosi-Reid Congress. Someday, Cuba Libre. For now: CFTA Libre!


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.