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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The return of Fernando Araujo

Fernando Araujo was Colombia's Minister of Development when was kidnapped by the Colombian FARC narcoterrorists on December 4, 2000, while he was jogging. He survived for six years tied up to a hammock until his escape last December 31, 2006, wondering through the jungle until he was rescued. Last Monday Colombian President Alvaro Uribe named him Foreign Minister.

Investor's Business Daily explains what this means in the context of the war on terrorism,
Proof Of Life In A Latin American Ally
War On Terror: Why would a sensible ally like Colombia pull a bit of magic realism and name a recently escaped hostage its new foreign minister? Because it's trying to tell us something.
But patriotism prompts people to do heroic things. This willingness to put nation before self may be the new role Araujo can play in helping Colombia persuade the U.S. Congress and the rest of the world to support its need for victory. It might be a brilliant choice for Uribe.

Putting a former hostage forward seemed to be Uribe's intention. He noted that Araujo "himself suffered our national tragedy, which we are committed to ending."

The message is important because not everyone outside Colombia understands. Leading the pack is the new Democrat-controlled Congress. It controls the $586 million in anti-terror funding the U.S. has earmarked for Colombia, money that's vital to the survival of an embattled ally and critical to our own national security.

Instead of focusing on that, Democrats like Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that funds assistance to Colombia, are chiefly interested in criticizing our leading ally in South America.

The new majority wants to cut Colombia's aid at a time when Colombia is seeking more. If the Democrats succeed, they will be squandering a chance to deliver a potential death blow to Colombian narcoterrorists.

Democrats have complained about Colombia's human rights record, demanding pristine standards from a nation that has been in a full-blown war since 1966. They also want to renegotiate a U.S.-Colombia free-trade pact, kvetching about labor rules, salaries and benefit packages.

They've even come up with a new one — blaming Colombia for global warming because of an increase in air shipments of its roses. Never mind that those commercial rose fields were once illegal coca patches.

Nitpicking is one thing, but these Democrats are the same people who have increased aid to Ecuador as that country pursues failed socialist models and turns into the nastiest anti-American regime this side of Venezuela.

Worst of all, Democrats like Leahy try to micromanage Colombia's war, demanding that Uribe fight all factions with equal vigor instead of first taking on the most deadly enemies, like FARC. That's why Uribe lost his last foreign minister. Her brother was accused of involvement with paramilitaries, but she had no involvement herself.

Uribe and Araujo are from different political parties, but both are determined to win Colombia's war against terror. Their willingness to put aside political differences to achieve victory is admirable. If only congressional Democrats would do the same.
You can watch until 2PM EST France2's interview of Araujo here, under Bogota: portrait de Fernando Araujo. The France2 anchorman refers to Araujo's new post as a "symbollic gesture". Nonsense. It is an act of courage.

A brave man, and a hero.

technorati tags Colombia Fernando Araujo FARC

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