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Diaz-Balarts, Ros-Lehtinen push for Colombia

The three Miami Republicans met today with House Republican Whip Roy Blunt and Colombia’s Defense Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, who urged Congress to approve a free trade deal with Colombia.

"To be singled out, discriminated against in free trade would leave us like a laughing stock," Santos said as he emerged from the meeting with the Republicans. "US credibility in the region is at stake."

Lincoln Diaz-Balart noted that Colombia is considered the U.S.'s closest ally in Latin America "and to be treated like Colombia, what signal does that send?"

"It's a very dangerous signal to send both to our enemies and our friends," said Mario Diaz-Balart, whose congressional district boasts the largest number of Colombian-Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a number of Democrats have opposed the bill, saying Colombia has not done enough to curb violence against labor unions. Diaz-Balart's congressional opponent, however, says for the record, he's not among them.

"As the next congressman from Florida," Democrat Joe Garcia said. "I will work tirelessly with both Republicans and Democrats to ensure that the Colombian free trade agreement is passed. It is time to end the partisan Washington bickering and unequivocally support one of America's greatest allies in this hemisphere."