Colombia should think about legalizing: Juan Manuel Santos

Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, in a file photo. EFE / José Méndez

2021 became the year with the most cocaine hydrochloride seizures in the history of Colombia with the seizure of more than 500 tons of the substance through the application of the ‘Orión’ operation. Even President Iván Duque highlighted this as “a thunderous defeat for drug trafficking.”

In total, according to state figures, it was achieved that close to 415 million doses of narcotic drugs were not marketed and consumed worldwide, by seizing 145.3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, 66.2 tons of marijuana, 8.6 tons of hashish, 74.3 kilograms of heroin and 2.5 tons of synthetic drugs, in the development of more than 482 operations against drug trafficking in land, air, sea and river environments.

This demonstrated a great advance in drug trafficking issues, however, experts point out that it is not enough to combat the problems that the country has been facing for many decades. This opinion is shared by former President Juan Manuel Santos, who is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, made up of 25 world leaders, politicians and intellectuals.

“Our fight against drug trafficking is not new, it is global, it has been going on for many decades. Drug trafficking, or at least the violence it generates, will end when we adopt a policy other than prohibitionism and repression.”, Santos pointed out in an interview with Time.

In space, the ex-president said that previous governments, too, made large seizures but that ultimately this did not have a great future impact because it did not end the root problem. He even added that if these policies were as successful as has been presumed, the country would no longer have drug trafficking problems.

“In Colombia, when this government came to power, there were 170,000 hectares of coca, according to the United Nations. The government says it has eradicated more than 100,000 hectares per year and has seized an unprecedented volume of cocaine. We said the same thing, Uribe said the same and Pastrana said the same. We have been in these for 50 years. If the mathematics are exact, there should not be a single coca plant in the country, but unfortunately the reality is that today we are no better than when we were worse. We keep swimming in coca”Noted the Nobel Peace Prize.

In addition, he stressed that the best way to deal with the issue of drug addiction is through public health policies and not through crime policies that neglect the integration of human rights because, in addition, it has created other problems at the international level.

“They should treat consumers like sick people and not like criminals. Have a human rights approach. The overcrowding of prisons in the world is due, in large part, to prisoners for non-violent crimes related to drug trafficking, ”said the former president.

Finally, he spoke a little about the 2022 presidential elections and gave his vision of what could happen in any of the possible scenarios: “If the candidate of the Coalition of Hope passes to the second round, without a doubt, I repeat, without a doubt, it will be the president. If Petro and an Uribista pass, there is a high probability that the balance will tip to Petro’s side. But change the subject. Don’t start talking about the elections in Colombia ”.


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Colombia should think about legalizing: Juan Manuel Santos