Colombia’s former president calls America’s drug war a ‘failure’

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 11:15 EDT
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A gun with drugs and U.S. currency. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, the former president of Colombia, told a Spanish-language radio station this week that America’s war on drugs has been a disastrous “failure” that the ruling political parties simply refuse to talk about.

“Society does not want to accept that people consume [drugs],” he told RCN Radio in Colombia. “You cannot turn away from reality. We cannot accept that theory. [American politicians] may prefer not to talk about it. We cannot accept it. We cannot be condemned to live in war because Americans do not want to talk about it. No one speaks in favor of the war on drugs.”

Trujillo, who left Colombia’s highest office in 1994, also said that he has “high expectations” for the Summit of the Americas next month, during which the Obama Administration will listen to arguments in favor of drug legalization, at the insistence of current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

President Barack Obama has insisted that America’s war on drugs will not end on his watch, but he has voiced support for some reforms, like an increased focus on prevention and treatment over incarceration.

South American leaders recently met in Guatemala to discuss a new regional security accord that would include drug legalization, but the summit failed to produce an agreement after several key leaders failed to show up.

Following the summit, Otto Perez Molina, president of Guatemala, said that he too favors legalization to deal with drug-related violence largely driven by the economic impacts of America’s prohibition policies, which drive up the price of illegal substances and help enrich criminal gangs.

The next Summit of the Americas begins on April 14.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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