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Santos Victory in Colombia: A Vote for Stability, Security and Hope
Posted By Ray Walser On June 21, 2010 @ 5:24 pm In American Leadership | 2 Comments
The impressive run-off electoral victory  of Juan Manuel Santos demonstrates that Colombians place great confidence in the former finance and defense minister’s ability to guide their nation for the next four years. It was also a vote for continuity with the successful and popular policies of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe . Undoubtedly, Santos has large executive shoes to fill.
Colombia under Santos, who takes office on August 7, will need to strengthen democratic institutions, advance an impartial justice system, put the economy on a high growth track, and battle poverty, while protecting Colombia’s security against drug traffickers, common crime, and the narco-terrorism of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, still the largest armed terror group in the Americas.Dealing with neighbors  will be a foreign policy priority for Santos. His victory will not sit well with Colombia’s meddlesome, leftist neighbors. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is in deep economic trouble  and needs an enemy to distract disgruntled Venezuelans before legislative elections in September. Chavez is still, along with drugs, FARC’s main lifeline. Chavez remains pro-terror ; just as Santos is resolute in his desire to end the depredations for FARC once and for all.
In a recent interview, days after Secretary’s Clinton’s visit to Quito , Ecuador’s leftist president Rafael Correa brusquely warned  that if the Colombian army were to go after FARC guerrillas on his territory, he would respond with military action. To Clinton’s chagrin, Correa seems to be putting out a welcome mat for retreating FARC narco-terrorists to establish safe havens in Ecuador.
Santos hopes to find a steady and reliable partner in the U.S. The Obama Administration’s current two-step in Latin America involves emphasizing ties with friends  while trying to dance with tyrants like the Castro brothers , Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Correa, etc.
The Administration and Congress need to move forward to keep relations with Colombia on the firmest possible footing by passing the stalled free trade agreement  and sustaining an invigorated Plan Colombia  to preserve solid ties with a key Hemispheric ally, soon to be under new management.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/06/21/santos-victory-in-colombia-a-vote-for-stability-security-and-hope/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/Santos-Juan-Manuel-10-6-20.jpg
 electoral victory: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/world/americas/21colombia.html?ref=world
 President Alvaro Uribe: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704717004575268763528382500.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion
 Dealing with neighbors: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/20/1691432/colombias-new-leader-must-mend.html
 deep economic trouble: http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=358052&CategoryId=13303
 remains pro-terror: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/01/State-Sponsors-of-Terrorism-Time-to-Add-Venezuela-to-the-List
 Secretary’s Clinton’s visit to Quito: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/world/americas/09diplo.html
 warned: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7d481358-79a6-11df-85be-00144feabdc0.html
 ties with friends: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j2JRp4KNRyDI0T4jC9_lZw3eAzWAD9G86CV80
 Castro brothers: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20008180-503543.html
 stalled free trade agreement: http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/03/colombia-united-states-trade-opinions-contributors-roger-noriega.html
 Plan Colombia: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10208937.stm
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