The President did not meet with the new PCVs while in Colombia this weekend. His trip to Latin America was, as we know, overshadowed by the Secret Service who managed to make the President and the US look bad. The story in Cartagena, I hear from PCVs in-country, is that “Americans came to Cartagena to bed our women.”
What the Secret Service agents did not know, I’m also told, is that Cartagena is the capitol of the Transvestite community in Colombia. The in-country joke is that the agents may have had one or more transvestites in their rooms. No wonder they didn’t want to pay the ‘guests’ fees!
According to news reports, the agents were “relieved of duty Thursday — prior to the president’s arrival in Colombia.”
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter who has written a book about the Secret Service, called the incident “clearly the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.” It was Kessler who also alerted the Post and they broke the story.
I am not sure (yet) why the President didn’t meet with PCVs in-country. My guess is that he figured with the Secret Service agents behavior he was already in enough trouble, why put himself in the path of a bunch of PCVs! We all know how ‘undiplomatic’ they can be!
For example, the Volunteers in Cartagena were sent to improve the teaching of English in the schools in an effort to get Colombia ready to meet the goals of the Fair Trade Agreement that was just signed with the US. Now, the new Colombia Volunteers feel that Peace Corps is not a priority for this Administration. Who back at Peace Corps HQ is standing up for them? What political officer assigned to the agency didn’t raise her hand and lobby to have the President do a quick ‘meet and greet’ with the PCVs?
No one, I guess.