President of Colombia admits they've lost the war on drugs

Callum Jones

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President of Colombia admits they've lost the war on drugs

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

The recently-installed Colombian president has said in an address that 'the war on drugs' has failed in the country, after decades of problems.

It is estimated around 260,000 Colombians have died as a result of drug wars in the country.

That is a challenge facing Gustavo Petro, who was only inaugurated as the country's first left-wing president last month.

But the former guerrilla fighter believes changes need to be made to Colombia's drug laws fairly quickly.

In his manifesto, Petro pledged to unite the deeply divided country, while promising to fight against inequality and climate change.

He also promised to achieve peace with leftist rebels and crime gangs in his manifesto that brought him into power.

Gustavo Petro admits his country has a problem with drugs. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Gustavo Petro admits his country has a problem with drugs. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Colombia is the largest producer of cocaine, accounting for 64 percent of the drug in 2019, according to a UN report.

It is also said Colombia is the source of more than 90 percent of drugs seized in the US.

Petro discussed the drug problem in his country on Tuesday (20 September), with an address to Untied Nations General Assembly, which is taking place until 27 September.

He said: "The war on drugs has failed. The fight against climate crisis has failed. Deadly consumption has increased; it has passed from soft drugs to the hardest.

"It has caused a genocide on my continent. And in my country, they have imprisoned millions of people to hide their own social guilt."

Petro then called for an end to the war on drugs and called his country 'wounded'.

This speech comes after another powerful speech from the newly-elected president for his inauguration.

Once again, Petro discussed drugs: "It is time for a new international convention that accepts that the war on drugs has failed; that it has left a million dead Latin Americans during 40 years; and that it leaves 70,000 North Americans dead by overdose each year.

The new president delivered the speech at 77th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. Credit: Pacific Press Media Production Corp. / Alamy Stock Photo
The new president delivered the speech at 77th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. Credit: Pacific Press Media Production Corp. / Alamy Stock Photo

"The war on drugs strengthened mafias and weakened states."

Petro's predecessor, Ivan Duque, warned that the new president could legalise all drugs: "What worries me is that there is now the possibility of getting into the permission, or the legalization of, cocaine and consumption."

Duque even said on Friday (23 September) he thinks Petro could threaten the US: "I think that it will be very bad for Colombia, and that will be very bad for the countries in the hemisphere, and I think that could generate also a majority security threat to the United States."

Topics: Politics, Drugs, World News

Callum Jones
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