The Real Prostitution Scandal Down in Columbia

by Matthew Payne on April 17, 2012Comments Off

So, the entire media world is abuzz with the fact that some secret service agents behave like pigs when they have a chance to.  As, apparently, do some members of all the uniform branches of the military.  In fact, the whole “behaving like a pig in Columbia” thing seems to be a bit of an industry.  Indeed, given the realities of “sex tourism” in places like Cartagena, the absence of child sex slaves in this incident is somewhat re-assuring. That said, there was quite a bit more meretriciousness on display than the stuff occurring behind closed doors.  Some of it was actually occurring onstage to polite applause. The horrific Columbia “Free Trade” Pact was signed at the Summit of the Americas, to ho-hum notices in the press.  Some ho-hum.  Rewarding a nation that murders union organizers (“unofficially,” of course but always by “right-wing” paramilitary groups) and “disappears” thousands with preferential access to the US market is an interestingly “liberal” approach to foreign policy, especially as the said treaty is only estimated to cost US workers 83,000 jobs.  I mean, it’s not like we need jobs or anything here, right?  Cui bono?  Well, obviously we need to go to the business press and not the so-called political press to suss that out:  “A free-trade deal with Colombia could boost U.S. exports by $1.1 billion. Caterpillar, GE, Wal-Mart, and Citigroup would be big beneficiaries.”  Well, that’s a surprise!–the top outsourcers in the US economy.  And that list has ties to Obama.  Again, who would have guessed?  I suppose that guy who promised to revisit NAFTA, revisited it and decided it wasn’t extreme enough in dealing with pesky union rights–let’s go straight to the death squads.  But then again, assassination is this administration’s style.

But why use my poor powers of style to convey the brothel that is “globalization” when I can do my own outsourcing, in this case to the great Charlie Pierce of the Esquire’s Politics blog:

The president recently went to Colombia. He signed a free-trade agreement that will likely work very much like all free-trade agreements work — namely, jobs will flow to a country where people pay five cents a week and murder labor leaders while we get cheaply made crap in return that we can increasingly not afford because people got no jobs, people got no money.

Seems about right to me.  The entire foreign policy of globalization summed up succinctly.

And as a post-script, I am certainly not making light of this prostitution scandal, which seems to me to be less troubling on the alleged “national security issues” (“Look out, Putin’s gonna run a honey trap!”) than as an illustration of the less remarked upon (because inhumane) aspects of globalization, such as sex “tourism” (gee, when did fornication for pay become so leisure industry-approved?).  At the very least I hope that the idiots involved lose their jobs and their pensions.  Still, I don’t think I’m the only guy who finds the fact that a Secret Service team has been dispatched to Cartagena to determine if the prostitutes have any “underworld” or “terrorist” connections ominous.  This bears watching on many levels, especially given the brutality of Columbia’s right-wing police infrastructure.