Will Colombia legalize cocaine? South American nation’s president declares the War on Drugs has been lost and proposes sweeping changes – but former president says it could spark chaos in the US
- Colombia President Gustavo Petro, 62, spoke in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly about the failures of the war on drugs
- ‘What is more poisonous for humanity, cocaine, coal or oil?’ Petro publicly queried before adding: ‘The war on drugs has failed’
- Former President Ivan Duque, 46, however, warned his successor’s plan to move away from the war on drugs would turn the country into a ‘narco state’ and threaten US security
- Petro previously presented a bill to legalize recreational marijuana
- An estimated 260,000 Colombians have died as a result of the war on drugs
Colombia President Gustavo Petro announced ‘the war on drugs has failed’ in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday while proposing changes to the nation’s drug laws that could end in legalization cocaine.
In a response to Petro’s statements, the nation’s former president, Ivan Duque, 46, told FOX News that he believes the current president’s views could lead to the drug’s legalization – and possible security risks in the United States.
‘What worries me is that there is now the possibility of getting into the permission, or the legalization of, cocaine and consumption,’ Duque said Friday.
‘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.’
Petro, 62, who began his term on August 4, added that humanity’s ‘addiction to irrational power, profit and money’ has been more damaging than drug addiction.
‘What is more poisonous for humanity, cocaine, coal or oil?’ he asked.
‘The opinion of power has ordered that cocaine is poison and must be persecuted, while it only causes minimal deaths from overdoses … but instead, coal and oil must be protected, even when it can extinguish all humanity.’
Colombia is currently the world’s largest producer of cocaine, according to CNN, and has become known for its drug trafficking. It produces more than the next two highest nations, Peru and Bolivia, combined.
Colombia President Gustavo Petro, 62, opened his first address at the United Nations General Assembly by stating ‘the war on drugs has failed’
Texas border officials hauled in almost $12million worth of cocaine disguised as baby wipes earlier this month – the state’s biggest drugs bust in 20 years.
The drugs were seized at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge near the town of Laredo, one hundred miles from San Antonio, after US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers gave a 2016 Stoughton trailer a secondary inspection.
They uncovered 1,935 packages containing nearly a ton (1,532.65 pounds) of alleged cocaine within the shipment after bringing out the sniffer dogs and using a non-intrusive inspection system examination.
The month prior, more than half a million dollars worth of cocaine was seized from a freight truck attempting to enter the US disguised as ‘juice’ at the same town.
Texas border officials uncovered 1,935 packages containing 1,532.65 pounds of alleged cocaine. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents are investigating the haul, which has an estimated street value of $11,818,400
Petro suggested that conflict over energy resources has led to more deaths than drug trafficking. ‘What is more poisonous for humanity, cocaine, coal or oil?’ he asked
Pictured: Coca paste, an extract of the coca leaf. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and produces more than the next two nations, Peru and Bolivia, combined
During his campaign for the presidency, Petro stated that he wants Colombia to export foods and incentivize agricultural production in favor of cocaine and weapons.
Colombian Sen. Gustavo Bolivar supported Petro’s statements, adding that he believed recent regulation of marijuana could extend to cocaine.
Drug trafficking efforts in Colombia have grown despite the nation continuing to spend money on fighting it, he said.
‘We will never achieve peace in Colombia until we regulate drug trafficking,’ he continued.
‘Not even the United States, with all their might and money, could win the war on drugs. Right now, Colombia produces more drugs than when Pablo Escobar was alive. There are more consumers. There are more farmers.’
A report from the Truth Commission, which investigated 50 years of Colombian civil conflict, found that drug trafficking prolonged conflict despite $8 billion in military aid being sent from the US to Colombia.
An estimated 260,000 Colombians have died as a result of the war on drugs.
Pictured: Ivan Buque. The former president added that cocaine legalization could lead to security risks in the United States
Pictured: Colombia’s Navy retrieval of a ton and a half of cocaine packages. According to a report, more than 260,000 Colombians have died as a result of the war on drugs
Duque complemented his argument by saying 40 percent of Colombia’s exports come from oil and gas.
As Petro hopes to transition from the war on drugs to a focus on climate change efforts, Duque said the new president must consider the nation’s future.
‘There’s a transition going on and Colombia can turn itself in the next decade into an exporter of green hydrogen, but so far, we need to keep the balance of doing a good job when it comes to oil and gas in terms of exports on production,’ Duque said.
‘At the same time, we need to keep on expanding on non-conventional renewable energies.’
Despite $8 billion in military aid being sent to Colombia to combat the war on drugs, a report suggests that the growth in drug trafficking has only led to more conflict
Pictured: The fumigation process of coca plants. ‘We will never achieve peace in Colombia until we regulate drug trafficking,’ one Colombian senator said
Pictured: Gustavo Petro at his swearing-in ceremony. In a response to Petro’s address, Bolivia President Luis Arce said he ‘would like to hear a very specific proposal about this’
During his address, Petro said global efforts to save the environment have been ‘hypocritical,’ as world leaders ignore the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
‘The climate disaster that will kill hundreds of millions of people is not being caused by the planet, it is being caused by capital,’ he said.
‘By the logic of consuming more and more, producing more and more, and for some earning more and more.’
After hearing Petro’s proposals, Bolivian President Luis Arce said he would like to continue discussions between the two nations about how regulations could feasibly be eased.
‘He shared the ideas with us that he spoke about today,’ Arce said. ‘We would like to hear a very specific proposal about this.’