Monday, September 25, 2023

Colombia and Mexico show a united front to change the anti-drug policy in the region

The presidents of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, and of Mexico, Manuel López Obrador, closed a Latin American and Caribbean Summit on drugs on Saturday in Cali, where Colombia proposed to move towards a policy to prevent the trafficking of drugs that focus on fighting big mafias and consumption, but that provides an economic alternative to farmers. A change from the historic war on drug policy.

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was in the southern city of Cali, in Colombia, to discuss drug trafficking issues with his counterpart, Gustavo Petro.

López Obrador was received with military honors on Friday, September 8, by Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva. A meeting between two progressive leaders within the framework of a Latin American summit on drugs that seeks to determine the future of the fight against drug trafficking.

The presidents spoke “about the Total Peace process in Colombia, as well as Latin American integration by strengthening the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States,” according to a statement from the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

But the focus is on how to address the fight against drug trafficking. Mexico and Colombia suffer from insecurity and violence linked to drug trafficking with the United States as the main destination.

Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president in the history of Colombia, attempted a negotiated solution to the six-decade armed conflict, through peace negotiations with all the illegal organizations in the country, the leading world producer of cocaine.

Petro and López Obrador have, on several occasions, criticized the repressive approach of the United States in the fight against drug production and trafficking. The leaders agreed on a more comprehensive treatment that would curb consumption and not penalize farmers.

Petro called the war on drugs “absurd”.

“The policy called the war on drugs has failed, it is futile, if we continue it we will add a million deaths in Latin America and we will have more failed states and maybe the death of democracy in our continent. “

For his part, López Obrador described this war as “hypocritical.”

The two presidents agreed on a change of measures. Petro suggested that all the presidents of Latin America and the Caribbean unite in a “different voice” to “stop repeating the failed speech that sees drugs as a military problem and not as a public health problem,” stated the president of Colombia.

The Mexican president agreed with his Colombian counterpart and assured that in order to face the scourge of drug addiction, its causes must be addressed under a new standard far from coercive measures.

“We must first fight poverty, against inequality to face the problem of violence, we must offer jobs, good salaries, serve young people, guarantee them the opportunity to study, work (.. .) Serving them, giving them options This is to remove the breeding ground of criminal gangs, so they don’t get hooked,” said AMLO.

With a view to a regional response against drugs

The final document of the summit combines the recommendations from the countries of Latin America that participated in the event and proposes the creation of a monitoring group made up of representatives of the States of the region.

All this with the goal of creating a policy that allows solving the drug problem with a focus on human rights, environmental care, respect for peasant and indigenous traditions, mental health, community protection and the fight against social inequality.

The document that closed the conference and will be presented at a world summit in 2025 also includes the need to combat the scourge of drugs. targeting its structural causes, such as inequality, poverty, lack of opportunities and violence. As well as promoting development projects in communities that grow coca, the raw material for cocaine, which guarantees its transfer to legal activities.

The signatories committed to the implementation of public policies based on a new paradigm that seeks to reduce the demand for drugs, as well as to break the “harmful” links between drug trafficking and other crimes such as illegal migrant trafficking, money laundering. , illegal logging, arms sales and corruption.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report, more than 296 million people used illicit substances in 2021, representing an increase of 23% compared to 2011.

The United Nations also detailed that people with drug use disorders increased in the same period to 39.5 million, that is, an increase of 45%.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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