tagged w/ Summit of the Americas
President Cristina Kirchner and Bolivia's Evo Morales walk out with summit already marred by US scandal and Cuba issue.
Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner has stormed out of the Summit of the Americas in protest against a perceived lack of regional support for her country's claims in the dispute with the UK over the Falkland Islands.
The summit in Colombia had already been marred by a lack of consensus among attendees, with Latin America countries opposing the decades-old US isolation of communist Cuba.
Several countries put pressure on Barack Obama to end the ban, as the US president continued to be plagued by a US secret service scandal involving prostitutes.
Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman, reporting from Cartagena, said the summit was at risk of "falling apart" after Kirchner's exit.
"I suppose the collapse shouldn't be too surprising. There was complete disagreement about signing a final statement but the nail in the coffin came when Cristina Kirchner stormed out of the summit followed by Bolivia's Evo Morales.
"[Kirchner] was furious, we are told, because of the lack of full, complete support for Argentina's claim of control of the Falkand Islands," Newman said.
"We understand she was very, very angry that [leaders] didn't even mention the dispute over the islands with the UK."
"She was overheard saying, 'This is pointless. Why did I even come here?'"
Seeking to woo a region whose trade could help create US jobs, Obama has instead had a bruising time at the two-day hemispheric gathering attended by more than 30 heads of state in historic Cartagena.
Brazil and others bashed Obama over monetary expansionism and he has been on the defensive over calls to legalize drugs.
The disagreements came as 16 US security personnel were caught in an embarrassing prostitution scandal at the summit.
Eleven agents from the Secret Service were sent home, and five military servicemen grounded, after trying to take at least one prostitute back to their hotel the day before Obama arrived.
The incident is a major blow to the prestige of the service and turned into an unexpected talking point at the meeting.
For the first time, conservative US-allied nations like Colombia are throwing their weight behind the traditional demand of leftist governments that Cuba be in the next meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
Diplomats said the dispute could block the final declaration planned for Sunday at the closing of the meeting, and originally intended as a hemispheric show of unity.
"The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, have been ineffective," Juan Manuel Santos, the summit host and Colombian president, said of the Cuba issue.
A major US ally in the region who has relied on Washington for financial and military help to fight guerrillas and drug traffickers, Santos has become vocal over Cuba despite his strong ideological differences with Havana.
Al Jazeera's Newman said: "There will not be a final statement, at least one signed by all the nations.
"All the nations, except the US, have insisted there will not be another summit if Cuba is not included.
"This was not the harmonious meeting many had hoped for. There will be no final declaration at the end."
Cuba was kicked out of the OAS a few years after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, and has been excluded from its summits due to opposition from the US and Canada.
"All the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean support Cuba and Argentina, yet two countries refuse to discuss it," Eva Morales, Bolivia's president said, referring to widespread support for Argentina's claims to sovereignty over the British-ruled Falkland Islands.
Morales said: "How is it possible that Cuba is not present in the Summit of the Americas? What sort of integration are we talking about if we are excluding Cuba?"
Rafael Correa, Ecuador's president, boycotted the meeting over Cuba, and fellow-leftist Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua also stayed at home.
The leftist ALBA bloc of nations, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and some Caribbean nations, said they will not attend future summits without Cuba's presence.
"It's not a favor anyone would be doing to Cuba. It's a right they've had taken away from them," Ortega said from Managua.
"At this meeting in Cartagena, I think it's time for the US government, all President Obama's advisers, to listen to all the Latin American nations."
Although there were widespread hopes for a rapprochement with Cuba under Obama when he took office, Washington has done little beyond ease some travel restrictions, saying democratic changes must come on the island before any further steps can be taken.
Obama has not spoken of Cuba in Colombia, though he did complain that Cold War-era issues, some dating from before his birth, were hindering perspectives on regional integration.
"Sometimes I feel as if in some of these discussions, or at least the press reports, we're caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s and gunboat diplomacy and Yankees and the Cold War,and this and that and the other," the 50-year-old Obama said. "That's not the world we live in today."
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/04/201241517107911574.html?utm_content=automate&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=NewSocialFlow&utm_term=plustweets&utm_medium=MasterAccountPresident Cristina Kirchner and Bolivia's Evo Morales walk out with summit... more
President Barack Obama certified Colombia’s labor protection efforts, allowing both sides to put the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement into effect May 15.
“We’re moving ahead with our landmark trade agreement,” Obama said at a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as they wrapped up the Summit of Americas in the resort city of Cartagena.
Obama called the trade deal a “win” for both nations. In the U.S., it will create “thousands” of jobs, he said, and Colombia will get more access to the U.S. market, its largest.
There are strong protections in the accord for labor and the environment, “commitments that we are going to fulfill,” Obama said. The president also said the agreement will help achieve his goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014.
The agreement would end Colombian duties immediately on more than 80 percent of U.S. exports, open services markets and strengthen intellectual property rights, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in an e-mailed statement.
“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia,” said Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer, who took part in a first-ever CEOs’ Summit of the Americas.
The trade deal, approved by the U.S. Congress in October, will add as much as $1.1 billion to U.S. exports when it takes full effect, according to estimates from the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The U.S. exported $14.3 billion in goods to Colombia last year and imported $23.1 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Caterpillar Inc. and General Electric Co. (GE) (GE) are among the biggest supporters of the trade deal.
Obama’s certification of Colombian worker protections puts him at odds with the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, which Democrat Obama is counting on for support in his re- election campaign against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“We regret that the administration has placed commercial interests above the interests of workers and their trade unions,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an e-mailed statement.
The Obama administration “signaled with today’s decision that a little improvement is good enough,” Trumka said. “If a little improvement were good enough, women might still be fighting for the right to vote and our workplaces would be filled with children.”
The U.S. labor federation had sought to have the trade deal delayed until Colombia took what the AFL-CIO called “sustained, meaningful and measurable action to change the culture of violence.”
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that under the labor certification, Colombia has established a new labor ministry, is giving workers the right to organize, and promises to prosecute past cases of violence against union organizations and provide protections for them.
The U.S. will offer Colombia “technical assistance” as it implements the labor protection rules, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said on the conference call.
Work in Progress
“This is a work in progress” but “we are moving on the right track,” Solis said. “Taken together, these actions represent fundamental change and historic progress for the lives and livelihoods of workers in Colombia,” the Obama administration said in a separate e-mailed statement.
Colombia’s Congress passed bills to implement a free-trade accord on April 10, days before the Summit of the Americas began.
The free-trade agreement, first reached under President George W. Bush more than five years ago, stalled in Congress amid opposition from House Democrats and unions. Obama worked to broaden support by securing stronger labor commitments from Colombia.
Colombia agreed to completion a “labor action plan,” a side agreement signed in April 2011 between the U.S. and Colombia, before the accord could be implemented.
Obama’s approval hinged on Colombia taking further steps to protect workers’ rights and making progress on reducing the killing of union workers by terrorists.
A Washington-based human-rights group called Obama’s decision a mistake. About 30 unionists were killed in Colombia last year, the Washington Office on Latin America said in an e- mailed statement, citing the National Labor School, which tracks such statistics. Four have been killed this year, and other trade union movements have reported additional murders, the group said.
About 3,000 unionists have been killed since 1986, according to the National Labor School, a human rights group.
“President Obama lost a historic opportunity to improve labor rights in Colombia, at a time when many Colombian labor rights activists are getting harassed and killed,” said Gimena Sanchez, the group’s Colombia associate.President Barack Obama certified Colombia’s labor protection efforts, allowing... more
There was a time when the Secret Service represented the best of the best, dependable men beyond reproach and most importantly, they were incorruptible. They were those chaps who would do anything in order to keep their country safe. In short, they were America’s finest.
Oh, how times have changed.
As President Obama and his royal entourage touched down in Cartagena, Colombia for the Summit of the Americas on Friday afternoon, it seems that his elite security detail had other, more pressing matters on their minds – wasting no time getting busy sampling some of the South America’s local delicacies.
It was billed in the press as an important meeting with over 30 South American leaders present to discuss the globalists’ plans for the coming decade. This latest White House holiday junket also counted in its imperial entourage Hillary Clinton and favored Romney running mate Marco Rubio, along with other high-ranking member’s of the President’s court, and a security detail which included scores of Secret Service agents, along with a few dozen more aids and logistics personnel.
Unable to control their manic hormonal urges, a number of the President’s elite Secret Service detail thought it prudent to coordinate some special recreational reconisance missions, on US taxpayers time. According the initial reports last night, a dozen agents – including a number of married ones, have been sent packing we are told, this time for “soliciting prostitution”, a practice considered inappropriate for Secret Service agents charged with guarding America’s heads of state.
It’s still unclear whether or not Obama’s body guards made trips to one of Cartegna’s infamous ‘red light’ districts, or if the Secret Service had instead organized their staff party at the same venue as US diplomats, and who actually paid for their Colombian hookers....
http://www.infowars.com/club-obama-president-compromised-by-secret-service-orgy-with-hookers-in-cartagena/There was a time when the Secret Service represented the best of the best, dependable... more
1 year ago
Have any to add? From the article>> Quotes from President Barack Obama during his first 100 days in office.
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America ? they will be met." ? Inaugural address on Jan. 20.
"I can say without exception or equivocation that the United States will not torture." ? Remarks on Jan. 22 to employees at the State Department, the same day he signed orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
"I will be held accountable. You know, I've got four years. ... If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition." ? Interview aired Feb. 2 on NBC's "Today" show.
"I'm here on television saying I screwed up." ? Interview with NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams," on Feb. 3, after abruptly abandoning his nomination fight for Tom Daschle a little more than 24 hours after he had said he was "absolutely" committed to his health nominee. Obama did similar interviews that day with all five television networks.
"We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time." ? Before he signed into law a $787 billion stimulus package on Feb. 17.
"The impact of this recession is real and it is everywhere. But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before." ? His first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb 24.
"It's hard to move around out there sometimes, so I've got to bring the world to me." ? At a March 4 dinner with congressional leaders, Cabinet members and White House aides.
"Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values." ? Remarks on March 9 as he signed documents changing science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on their work.
"It was like the Special Olympics or something." ? Comment during an appearance March 19 on NBC's "Tonight" show, telling host Jay Leno he's been practicing at the White House bowling alley but wasn't happy with his score of 129. A spokesman quickly said Obama's remark was not meant to disparage the Special Olympics, only to poke some fun at his bowling skills.
"It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." ? Comment after he was asked at a news conference March 24 why it took him so long to express outrage over executive bonuses at the big insurer American International Group Inc.
"I remind everybody, the United States of America did not choose to fight a war in Afghanistan. Nearly 3,000 of our people were killed on September 11th, 2001, for doing nothing more than going about their daily lives." ? Remarks on March 27 announcing plans to send 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, part of a broad escalation troops.
"The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam." ? Address to the Turkish parliament on April 6.
"It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. They need to take responsibility for their country." ? Comment to about 600 U.S. soldiers during a visit to Baghdad on April 7.
"I'm here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration." ? Statement to the heads of every democratic government across the Western Hemisphere, at the opening of the Summit of the Americas on April 17.
"I try to figure out what's right in terms of American interests, and on this one I think I'm right." ? At an April 19 news conference, on critics of his friendly exchange with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at that summit.
///Have any to add? From the article>> Quotes from President Barack Obama during... more