Sunday, September 26, 2021

Santos warns at UN that war on drugs is not won, calls for different focus

United Nations, Apr 24 (EFE).- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday addressed the United Nations General Assembly, saying that the war on drugs has not been successful, calling for a different international focus and emphasizing that drug trafficking is the main threat to peace in his country.

“The war that the world declared on drugs more than 40 years ago has not been won. The strategy based exclusively on prohibition and repression has only created more deaths, more prisoners, more dangerous criminal organizations,” said Santos in a speech before the General Assembly.

The Colombian leader, who is in New York to attend the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, noted that in Colombia drug trafficking “has nourished the conflict and the conflict has made it difficult to effectively fight drug trafficking.”

“Today, drug trafficking continues to be the main threat to peace. The transnational cartels murder social leaders committed to (drug) crop substitution. The fight to take control of the business, which will continue being a business so long as demand continues to exist, results in deaths and more violence in Colombia and in the region, as we experienced a week ago in Ecuador,” he said.

Therefore, Santos said that the world needs “to change the … strategy to overcome the problem of drugs” if it wants to do away with “the death and social destruction” caused by drug trafficking and “protect peace in Colombia.”

“I want to reiterate once again my urgent call to the world (for us) to open our eyes. Let us recognize that if we continue doing the same thing, we’ll continue having the same results: more prisoners, more deaths, stronger mafias,” he insisted.

Santos said that “sending consumers or peasants to jail doesn’t work,” and thus he said that the “focus” of the anti-drug strategy needs to be changed.

“Under the principle of shared responsibility, let us work together to reduce demand and punish the transnational criminal organizations that profit from the business and sow pain and death in their wake,” he said.
Santos’ message echoed the one he expressed two years ago before the General Assembly during its special session on drugs.