Gustavo Petro assures that Colombia would reach peace shortly if the US changes its anti-drug policy

Spread the love

The president explained that the United States plays a decisive role in how this fight can be directed in the coming years, pointing out that it is capable of bringing violence or peace to South America

Gustavo Petro assures that Colombia would achieve peace soon if the US changes its anti-drug policy

Gustavo Petro spoke about the need to reorient the fight against drugs by the United States during the Paris Forum for Peace. Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

This Friday, in statements to the media at the end of the Paris Forum for Peace in French territory, President Gustavo Petro pointed out that if the United States were to modify its anti-drug policy and put an end to the criminalization of drug use, it could contribute to reaching peace in Colombia “in a matter of months”.

The president emphasized the importance of moving from a process that combats the production and transportation of illegal drugs, to one that addresses the situation from a public health perspective:

“Remake an anti-drug policy based on the prevention of public health and not criminalization, which could almost lead Colombia to peace in a matter of months. That's up to the United States”

That's why Petro asked US President Joe Biden to become a “peace activist”, highlighting that the northern country has a fundamental role in this process by pointing out that it was the one that during the 1970s established the fight against drugs as a State policy that continues to this day:

“The United States has a determining role because, depending on its drug policy, it brings violence or peace to South America.”

Within his argument, Petro maintains that the repressive policy launched by President Richard Nixon half a century ago, when he declared drug abuse as “enemy number one”, left as a consequence, and from then on, “one million Latin Americans dead.”

On the other hand, the Colombian president was proud that the proposal he launched to reduce the debt of developing countries in exchange for investments in climate action with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has “been welcomed as the agenda from the south”. He stated that said agenda needs to be strengthened to achieve the expected results in terms of sustainability and climate change.

This proposal was made by Petro within the framework of the 27th Conference of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held these days in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Regarding his participation in this summit, he considered that it has left Colombia “as one of the vanguards of today.”

However, he also expressed that he felt “disagreement” when he stressed that since the 2015 Conference that gave rise to the Paris Agreements in which the participating countries reached a series of agreements to combat change climate change, “all promises have been broken” since then. He also warned that if there is no international funding, this could amount to a situation of “every man for himself” which ultimately implies a scenario of “death or mass exodus” for what he called “vulnerable peoples”.

< p class="paragraph">Petro also pointed out the danger of this scenario, considering the rise of far-right (or supported by) governments among world powers:

“As the far-rights take over governments in the rich world or form part of governments, there is a kind of policy of discarding poor peoples which in the climate crisis means death”