Wikileaks revealed details of U.S. free trade campaign

Regarding your assessment of the impact of the cables obtained through Wikileaks has made on the news in Costa Rica, I have to agree that this impact has been ho-hum.

Yet, everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room revealed in these cables. This elephant is the number of the cables that focus on U.S. embassy’s efforts to persuade Costa Rica to pass the free-trade treaty. A rough count shows that over two-thirds of well over a hundred cables dealt with one or another aspect of U.S. strategy to promote passage of this treaty.

Granted, it is no news that the George W. Bush administration wanted Costa Rica to approve this treaty, as neither is it any news that U.S. officials intervened in Costa Rica on numerous occasions to promote its passage.  President Bush also had the legal, if not the moral right, to direct the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica to pursue his preferred policy agenda.

Nevertheless, when it is appreciated that support for this treaty in both the U.S. and Costa Rica was fairly evenly divided, Americans might wonder why their embassy went to such lengths to insure its passage.

Indeed, the embassy is notorious for providing shoddy services to American citizens and didn’t even get around to telling anyone actually living in Costa Rica that it believed the peanuts here could be dangerous (perhaps for fear that announcing this would risk support for the treaty among peanut growers), yet it prioritized the passage of a treaty that many Americans as well as Ticos opposed.

The big news revealed by these cables is that the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica was thoroughly politicized in pursuit of a narrow economic agenda during the Bush administration.   Thanks to Wikileaks, Americans can ask themselves if this is what they want from their government abroad.

Ken Morris
San Pedro

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