On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal editorial page reported that former vice president Al Gore had declined to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, citing concerns about human rights.
Never mind why Uribe was seeking a meeting with a has-been pol — the story of the shabby treatment of an American ally continues to get worse.
According to sources within the House Democratic leadership, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has denied the request for a meeting with Uribe when he comes to Washington next week. Uribe’s staff has attempted to set up a meeting with Pelosi, offering to come to her offices with Uribe if necessary. Pelosi has refused the meeting.
“She has third parties who have encouraged her not to take the meeting,” says a leadership aide, who said a coalition of labor organizations and MoveOn.org had been pressuring her to not meet with Uribe. “We’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not like we’re talking about some family from San Francisco who stopped by her office unannounced. This is the president of a country.”
In Colombia, Uribe has been struggling against communist terrorist groups financed by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, as well as leftist political pressure internally. All while attempting to work with the U.S. against narco-trafficking. “He’s a friend and an ally,” says a State Department source, who was unaware of Pelosi’s snub. “I’d be surprised that one of our national leaders would not meet with a strategic partner of the United States of America.”
Earlier this week Pelosi declined to meet with the man overseeing U.S. military forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petreaus.
Pelosi, though, is willing to meet with America’s enemies. Against the advice of the State Department, Pelosi pressed for and did meet with the dictator of Syria earlier this month. According to leadership staff, she has members of her personal staff working on initial plans for a trip to Venezuela, perhaps in the fall, to meet with Chavez.
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