The war on drugs has failed to curb supply or reduce violence. What do you propose?
Sometimes we all feel that we have been pedalling on a stationary bicycle. We look to our right and our left and we still see the same landscape. There has been an important decrease in the world's coca crops, mainly due to the great efforts we have made in
What response has there been from the US and
In April I put this proposal to the heads of state, including President Obama, gathered at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena,
The burden has fallen mainly on the producing countries such as your own. How can it be shared more equally?
Who profits from the drug trade?
According to the UNODC, the illicit drug market amounts to around
We now know that billions of dollars in drug money ends up in banks in the US and
Teamwork and close cooperation among countries and the private sector is of the essence. During the past decades
What term should we use to replace the 'war on drugs'?
It's true that the world's drug problems involve a direct engagement against criminal organizations, but this 'war' is not the sole component. A comprehensive anti-drug policy should also consider the farmers who grow the coca leaves, who require more social than repressive policies; it should promote a law-abiding society, which is absolutely necessary to overcome the mafia culture of violence; it should include a drug consumption prevention strategy, healthcare for drug users, social reintegration and policies to sever the links between drugs and crime.
If some drugs were legalized or decriminalized what would be the effect?
That is part of the discussions and the issues to be studied and determined by scientists and experts. For the time being, it is crystal clear that
What are the possibilities of joint action among Latin American countries on drug policy?
The Americas took a first step at the last Summit of the Americas when we gave a mandate to the
What is the connection between your success curbing the drug-related activity in
The region has seen a rearrangement of these illegal forces which profit from drug trade.
As defence minister under President Uribe you significantly reduced the FARC threat, but at the cost of some well publicized human rights abuses.
These questionable events were the subject of criminal investigations, and we have taken steps to prevent their recurrence. Our military success in the confrontation with the FARC guerillas has forced them to leave zones where they had been entrenched. This has led the guerrillas to reorganize themselves in smaller groups, wearing civilian clothing and living among the community. In response, our strategy is now less military and more police-like. We have implemented strict zero-tolerance guidelines to any kind of abuse, and we can state that each and every one of our men and women in law enforcement has received training in human rights and international humanitarian law. Likewise, coordination with our judicial authorities has been essential for ensuring the prompt and appropriate prosecution of alleged cases involving members of our law enforcement authorities.
We have guaranteed free education for all our children in public schools, we levelled and up-scaled healthcare plans for all Colombians and launched a housing programme, which will provide 100,000 free housing solutions for the poorest families. Between 2010 and 2011, 1.2 million Colombians were lifted out of poverty. There's still a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction.
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