Latest Clinton emails reveal worrisome flip-flop on controversial Colombian trade agreement
The U.S. State Department released its second-to-last batch of Hillary Clinton emails Friday night, 881 of which concern a controversial political flip-flop on a Colombian trade deal. According to International Business Times, Clinton had opposed the trade deal during her 2008 presidential bid, citing concerns about "the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia." However, the latest emails show Clinton actually lobbying Democratic members of Congress to support the deal.
"I told [Michigan Congressman Sandy Levin] that at the rate we were going, Columbian [sic] workers were going to end up [with] the same or better rights than workers in Wisconsin and Indiana and, maybe even, Michigan," Clinton wrote in an email to U.S. Trade Representative and former Citigroup representative Michael Froman and her aide and former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Robert Hormats.
Froman responded by thanking Clinton for her "help and support." Hormats replied that Clinton had done a "terrific job" and "GREAT line on Columbian [sic] workers!!!!!"
Even with Clinton's assurances, there is evidence that violence against workers in Colombia remains a serious problem. "In the four years since the United States and Colombia signed the Labor Action Plan — a precursor to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement — to address entrenched labor rights violations, Colombian workers have suffered more than 1,933 threats and acts of violence, including 105 assassinations of union activists and 1,337 death threats," a 2015 AFL-CIO report reads. Labor leaders also contacted the State Department at the time Clinton was head, complaining of the abuse of union activists in Colombia, only to be dismissed and see the trade agreement move forward.
Clinton is under review for using a personal email server while serving as secretary of state. Of the 88 classified emails released Friday night, none had been classified at the time they were sent. The State Department will publish the last of the emails on Monday.