“For what are we going to ask permission?”

At the panel for the presentation of the latest book by Senator Ariel Ávila, former President Juan Manuel Santos, who as Defense Minister and president fought drugs in collaboration with the United States, completely changed his opinion on the dangers of legalizing all substances. Now he affirms that it is not necessary to ask permission from the North American country, which has injected resources and personnel to strengthen the fight against drug trafficking.

“I have a difference with Ariel, because you say that it is impossible to legalize coca. I say that it is not impossible to legalize coca. That the United States is not going to leave us? But, why are we going to ask the United States for permission? No, or that Europe is going to prohibit us from legalizing coca so as not to continue in this tragedy.” Santos said in his speech.

Prior to this, the former president recalled his time as Defense Minister of former President Álvaro Uribe and later during his two presidential terms.

“It was a war that I had to carry out on behalf of the Colombian State as Minister of Defense and President. I had to spray more hectares than any other person in the history of the world, because Colombia is one of the only countries that sprays, and that later I suspended him as president ”, he indicated.

In addition, he recalled that he seized “unprecedented” shipments and signed the extradition of more than 1,453 drug traffickers to the United States. “No one has extradited so many people,” she added.

“After all that, I was convinced that we were on an exercise bike. We were on totally wrong policy. I converted and now I am a promoter of abolishing the prohibition in the drug market”, the former president stated.

He also recalled that two weeks ago, the Global Commission on Drug Policy made a report on Colombia recommending the legalization of all drugs, including cocaine.

“The Truth Commission, which listened to thousands and thousands of victims of this conflict of the last fifty years, reached the same conclusion. All the violence we have experienced, all the tragedy we have experienced, is related in one way or another to drug trafficking. With that cursed money that the drug-trafficking business generates,” he said.

Santos touched on the issue of the crisis in organized crime in the region: “I talk to all the leaders and they tell me that they don’t know what to do. What to do? Get together, change the United Nations conventions, because that is what prevents it, and regulate the drug trade. That is the only thing that will allow total peace to be successful,” he said.

According to the former president, the total peace of the Government should be accompanied by “this bold measure”, which he also described as “unpopular”.

“Bold, but necessary. They also told me that peace with the Farc was impossible. (…) It was what had to be done and now that has to be done. Legalize the drug trade for total peace”, he indicated, assuring that he believes that peace with the ELN will work because “it is convenient for Maduro”.

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