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Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA): Colombia: 'July Surprise'?

July 3, 2008
3:00 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020;
or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Colombia: 'July Surprise'?

Birns is director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Uozumi is a research associate at COHA and a Colombian national specializing in U.S.-Colombian relations. Birns said today: "While it was perfectly appropriate for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to act to free the hostages, we should not lose sight of the fact that he is one of the more authoritarian presidents in Colombia's history and that presently Colombia is a democracy in form, not substance. Uribe is also seeking another term and is attempting to circumvent the Supreme Court's earlier position that this would be unconstitutional. This impressive event might embolden Uribe in various ways, for example the U.S. base in Peru could be moved to Colombia, further intensifying Colombia's role as Washington's surrogate to act imprudently in Latin America."

Among the recent backgrounders from COHA is Sarah Hamburger's "A Hidden Agenda: John McCain and the International Republican Institute."
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Director of the Colombia program at the Center for International Policy, Isacson said today: "It's wonderful to see the families back together after so much work on this issue. This is clearly a severe blow to the FARC, though they will still be around and still have a serious following.

"With McCain's visit, the timing of this does have a ring of a 'July surprise' -- the U.S. government was in on the planning. To their credit, they did wait until after McCain had left Colombia to announce this; they didn't try to work him into a photo op with the released hostages."
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