Well, no…actually, they’re more like pathetic, and have been ever since poor, mad old Uncle Miltie kicked the bucket (many years past his due date, if you ask me). So you’ll have to pardon me if I smile with a kind of pitying scorn at people who spew drivel like this:
Colombia’s diplomatic spat with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela may help President Alvaro Uribe build support in the U.S. Congress for a free-trade accord, Citigroup Inc. economists said.
Colombia could help securing passage of the agreement by casting it as a way to limit Chavez’s regional influence, economists Franz Hamann and Luisa Charry wrote in an e-mailed report today.
“The sharper dividing line between the two countries can serve as a warning signal of the potential costs of not supporting economic freedom in the region,” Bogota-based Hamman and Charry said.
Actually, it could serve as a way of showing your Latin American neighbors how to cut off their noses to spite their faces. By voluntarily opening its own veins to international megacorps (primarily based in the US, but with bank accounts in the Caymans), Colombia is certainly sparing those gringos the trouble of having to wield the fleam and bloodstick themselves. (The salient lessons of Argentina and Chile will of course go straight down Ye Olde Memorye Hole.)
The question is, how many Colombians seriously want to go that route? Especially when you consider that it will do nothing for the vast majority of them anyway, and will in fact only plunge them even further into poverty and dependence on the cocaine trade than they already are? Who voluntarily puts themselves on the shit end of a stick unless they are already hopelessly abject, used to being the butt of every dirty joke? Is Colombia so far gone?
Gawd, I hope not. That would be just plain sad.
The other funny-pathetic thing about this is how the “economists” cited seem to think that Chavecito is some kind of toxic toad. That just touching him is a good way to end up hallucinating, if not dead. And that his alternative inter-American fair trade plan, the ALBA, is some cockeyed scheme that can’t possibly work (with the unwritten subtext that the best way to prove THAT is to keep as many countries from trying it as possible. And to minimize the successes of those countries that ARE in it, preferably by appealing to their oligarchs and fascist shit-disturbers to start riots on any pretext.)
Only when we get to the last paragraph, though, do we realize it IS a punchline, albeit a very clunky one:
“While the probability of the approval of the FTA is rather low, the recent political tensions between Colombia and Venezuela may improve it,” the economists wrote.
Ha ha. Free-traders funny after all. Rimshot!