The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 22, 2008

Fact Sheet: Defending Democratic Values We Share with Colombia

President Bush Commends President Uribe On His Commitment To Provide A Better Future For Colombian People, Urges House Speaker Nancy Pelosi To Allow A Vote On U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Today, President Bush honored Colombia's Independence Day. Colombia and the United States have had a long history of close ties in the nearly two centuries since the United States and Colombia forged a friendship. It is the responsibility of free nations to support one another against those who would undermine freedom, and the United States is committed to the security of Colombia and to defeating the forces of terror. Approving the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) is one the most important steps that America can take to show its support for Colombia. The U.S.-Colombia FTA will advance our national security and bring economic gains for both countries. Congress should give this steadfast ally the support it deserves and quickly act to approve this agreement.

The United States And Colombia Have Worked Together To Combat Violence And Instability

President Alvaro Uribe has been a strong and capable partner in fighting drugs, crime, and terror. He has demonstrated that he is deeply committed to providing a better future for the people of Colombia. Since President Uribe took office in 2002, the Colombian government reports that homicides have dropped by 40 percent, kidnappings by more than 80 percent, and terrorist attacks by more than 70 percent.

Colombia's Economy Is Rebounding, And People's Lives Are Improving

Last year, Colombia's economy saw the largest growth rate in nearly three decades. Unemployment and poverty are at their lowest levels in a decade.

Colombia has laid the foundation for bringing government services to areas retaken from illegal armed groups and increased investment in alternative development, human rights protection, and social services.

To Demonstrate America's Good Faith, Congress Must Approve The Colombia Free Trade Agreement

The single most important step we can take to strengthen our relationship with Colombia is for Congress to approve the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that our countries signed more than a year and a half ago. Over the past six years, President Uribe has transformed his country from the brink of a failing state to a stable democracy with a growing economy. He has partnered with the United States in the fight against drugs and terror and done everything the United States asked of him, including revising the free trade agreement to include some of the most rigorous labor and environmental protections in history.

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