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Putting a Face on Free Trade

Democrats who oppose the free trade agreement with Columbia (I would say “politician” but I can’t find a Republican who opposes the deal) claim their opposition is due to human rights abuses in Columbia, specifically murders of labor officials. Nicholas Kristof points out in this NYT Op-Ed that the real human rights abuse is in rejecting the deal:

Some Democrats claim that they are against the pact because Colombia has abused human rights. Those concerns are legitimate — but they shouldn’t be used to punish people like Norma Reynosa, a 35-year-old woman who just may snip the flowers that go into the Mother’s Day bouquet that you buy.

Free trade is about the rights of individuals not organizations. There are real people in Columbia, like Ms. Reynosa, who are affected when politicians grandstand on free trade. Yes, there are real people affected (negatively and positively) in the US as well, but why should lines on a map decide who is more worthy of our compassion?