Colombia's Uribe: Free Market not the Answer
During his innaugurtion for a 2nd term (after a successful Constitutional 'reform' to allow it), Colombian President Alvaro Uribe closed his remarks with a suprising nod to his leftist collegues in the region - and a stick in the eye of Washingon's conservatives.
Bits compiled from the LA Times, Washington Post and IHT coverage:
"We don't share the idea of promoting growth and abandoning the war on poverty to the fate of the free market. We reject the notion of the equitable distribution of poverty. We believe in the growth of social justice," Uribe said.
"We are against a fiscally tight macro-economic policy that leaves economic growth to the luck of supply and demand. The state must be devoted in equal parts to growth and equality," he said.
Uribe made no bold proposals for improving the lot of the 50 percent of Colombians who live below the poverty line -- on less than three U.S. dollars a day -- even as the rich benefit from the increased foreign investment that improved security has brought.
He also promised to pursue peace with armed rebels despite the failure of such gestures in the past.
"We are not afraid to negotiate peace. I confess that I worry about something different, the risk of not achieving peace and reverting to insecurity," Uribe said.
But senators from the opposition Democratic Pole party, in silent protest over Uribe's preference for guns over peace-building, held up pictures several people being held captive by rebels, including some - such as former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt - who have been held longer than Uribe has been president.
Tanks and 30,000 troops formed a two-block perimeter around the Congress accessible only to journalists and dignitaries