BOGOTÁ ( Associated Press) — Colombian President Gustavo Petro warned the United States on Wednesday that he believes the failure of the anti-drug policy American governments have financed and supported in the Andean country for years.
Petro, the first leftist leader in Colombia, called for substantial changes in anti-drug policy and signaled to the newly installed Colombian ambassador in Washington, Luis Gilberto Murillo, about priorities in a new phase in relations with the United States. ,
Prior to his statements, Petro met in Bogota with the commander of the United States Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, who publicly stated that his country considers Colombia its number one security partner in the region.
“We were now talking at length with General Laura Richardson … about the failure of the anti-drug policy. I think it should be called without fear: the policy that (Richard) Nixon had in the time It was called the War on Drugs, has failed here,” said Petro from the presidential palace.
The president, who completed his first month, said, “It is our duty before the United States, but also before the world, to not only say this, but to propose alternatives that will not kill more than a million Latin Americans.” Huh.” Power.
Colombia remains the largest producer of cocaine in the world. Its area had 234,000 hectares of coca leaf cultivation in 2021, according to the latest available report from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Petro indicated that Colombia’s “biggest culprit” for the expansion of drugs is its own country, which has placed some areas where drug trafficking is high in poverty.
With his government, he is changing drug strategy by restricting aerial spraying of illegal crops with the herbicide glyphosate, promoting voluntary replacement of farmer crops, and limiting forced eradication in which security forces intervene. want.
In addition, he proposed changes to the agreement for the extradition of drug traffickers to Joe Biden government officials, so that those who negotiate with the Colombian state for legal advantage and of course stop their criminal activity. , they are not extradited.
According to Petro, Murillo, the first Afro-descendant to rise to the position of ambassador to the United States, will have the task of setting a new bilateral agenda with that country that includes the fight against climate change as a priority. He proposed a military cooperation between the two countries to tackle deforestation in the Amazon forest and to extinguish the fires that damage it.