Bill Clinton, Colombia, 2005

By Saira Anees

Apr 10, 2008 9:11am

Our friend Ben Smith at Politico reported this week on former President Bill Clinton’s appearance at an exposition in Colombia in May 2005, when he advocated for the Colombia-US trade deal opposed by unions and by his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

Our amazing foreign desk was able to get a hold of the video of the event, as it was aired in Colombia — with simultaneous translation — which you can watch HERE.

The translation is a bit distracting, but you can hear him say towards the end of the clip that "the best thing we can do is to do the Andean Trade Pact, then finish the Free Trade" agreement with Colombia.

Colombian media covered his support of the trade deal, as we see in the video clip, as in this newspaper story which reports Clinton told the leaders of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru "not to panic" over the free trade agreement and said the timing was problematic.

"I think we have to miss the electoral pressure in the United States," Clinton said, according to the newspaper. "This is a bad time for the free trade in the United States. There is an emotional momentum away from greater integration ….The only thing I can say is that it would be a serious mistake for the United States not to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with the Andean countries."

Asked about her husband’s different position on this issue yesterday outside of Pittsburgh, Sen. Clinton said, "I don’t think any married couple I know agrees on everything and we disagree on this. You know the Colombia free trade deal  in my view is not appropriate because of the history of suppression and targeting killings of labor organizers in Colombia."

- jpt

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