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Press Release

For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Libertarians urge Obama: Stop blaming America and start opening markets

White House attacks gun rights, sparks trade war as Obama leaves for Latin American trip

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama leaves today for a trip to meet with Latin American leaders, and America’s third largest party urges him to use the occasion to open up markets to American products, instead of continuing to use foreign trips to attack American beliefs and freedoms.

“President Obama has already traveled to Europe to blame American capitalism for the global economic problems, and his administration is already blaming American gun rights for Mexican crimes largely caused by a corrupt police force,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.  “Instead of blaming capitalism and constitutional rights for the world’s problems, the president should try defending freedom and creating jobs by opening foreign markets to American goods.”

As the president leaves for a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City Thursday, the Mexico/United States border faces a wave of murder and violent crimes fueled by corruption within Mexican police forces.

Rather than urge Calderon to clean up police corruption and crack down on murder, the Obama administration has instead blamed the United States for the recent border-area crime wave.  When asked if the United States is partly to blame for the violence along the border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "There certainly is a relationship. You can't deny it."

The government’s own information does deny it.

The Obama administration has claimed “90 percent” of the guns used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, however, says that is not true.  According the BATFE, that “90 percent” statistic refers only to the few guns used in Mexican crimes with clear markings indicating they came from the U.S.   The BATFE estimates the real figure is only 17 percent.  Obama is an opponent of gun rights, earning a “F” rating from Gunowners of America during his Senate term  .

Obama must also deal with a trade war with Mexico that has sparked retaliatory tariffs on American agricultural products. 

Acting on a request by the Teamsters, the Obama administration canceled a program that allowed 100 pre-approved Mexican trucks to travel further than 25 miles from the Mexican border.  In retaliation, Mexico levied new tariffs on 89 agricultural products from the United States, affecting $2.4 billion in U.S. exports.

“We urge President Obama to stop criticizing America long enough to get in a word with Calderon about ending these tariffs and letting American farmers sell their goods,” said Ferguson.

Obama will also travel to Trinidad and Tobago to meet with Latin American leaders at the Summit of the Americas, including Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez.  When questioned by CNN about how he would deal with Chavez, who has restricted free speech, nationalized industries expelled human rights activists from his country in a bid to consolidate his socialist control, Obama refused to criticize Chavez or mention the threats the Venezuelan leader’s crackdown on human rights and economic freedoms.

The South American Project Director for the Center for Strategic International Studies reported to the U.S. Senate that Chavez is "selectively arresting opposition leaders, torturing some members of the opposition (according to human rights organizations) and encouraging, if not directing, its squads of Bolivarian Circles to beat up members of Congress and intimidate voters—all with impunity."

Ferguson urged Obama to criticize Chavez’s attacks on freedom and support Venezuelans who would like to live in a free country.

“Libertarians support our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms and our free market economy.  We hope the president can find the courage to not only defend American freedoms and open markets to create jobs for American businesses, but to actually criticize someone other than the United States for once,” said Ferguson.

For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Libertarian Party, please call Director of Communications Donny Ferguson at 703-200-3669 or 202-333-0008, x. 225, or email Donny.Ferguson@lp.org.

The Libertarian Party is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting http://www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

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