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Former Colombian President Ivan Duque warned that his successor’s call to change the course of the war on drugs would turn Colombia into a “narcotics nation” that could threaten the security of the United States and other countries “in the hemisphere”.
“Now, what worries me is that there is now the possibility of getting a permit, or legalizing cocaine and its consumption,” Duque, who has been in New York for the Concordia summit, told Fox News Digital. “I think it would be very bad for Colombia and it would be very bad for countries in the hemisphere, and I think it could also pose a huge security threat to the United States.”
Duque, who left office in August, continued: “So I’m not in favor of legalizing the cocaine trade… But I have to say it too, Colombia can’t turn into a narcotics nation. I think the world has now united in the concept of prohibition, and I think if only one country, say Colombia, decided to legalize cocaine, it would turn itself into a narcotics nation.”
Instead, Duque cites his administration’s “holistic approach” to the drug challenge, from the highest-ever drug seizure, to extradition, to health care policies to treat addicts. He further called for more to be done to curb demand “in countries where gaming consumption has soared.”
A bill proposed by the current administration of President Gustavo Petro to legalize recreational marijuana reflects an attempt to move away from what he calls the “irrational war on drugs.” Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president and former guerrilla leader, called for a “new international convention” during his inaugural address, claiming “the war on drugs has failed.”
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According to estimates from the National Drug Control Policy Office, Colombia by 2020 will be the world’s leading producer of cocaine, cultivating more than the two closest countries combined, Peru and Bolivia.
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Petro again declared “The war on drugs has failed.”
“What is more toxic to humans, cocaine, coal or oil?” said Peter. “Power opinion has dictated that cocaine is poison and should be persecuted, while it only causes minimal death from overdose … but on the other hand, coal and oil must be protected, even when it can extinguish all of humanity.”
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President Duque also discussed border security and the crisis on the US southern border. He said one way to help solve this is to bring more investment into America. “Bringing those investments here will create jobs, will create opportunities, will create aggregate value chains and I think it can reduce pressure on the southern border of the United States.”
He noted that a focus on climate change as a key issue means that Colombia will have to adapt or suffer in the long term. He explained that 40% of Colombia’s exports come from oil and gas, with most of the national profits coming from taxation and foreign investment in the sector.
He insisted that Colombia could be a leader in the pursuit of alternative fuels, but the problem was “not a black and white problem.”
“There’s a transition going on and Colombia could transform itself in the next decade into a green hydrogen exporter, but so far, we need to maintain a balance in doing a good job in terms of oil and gas in terms of production exports,” argued Duque. “At the same time, we need to continue to expand unconventional renewable energy.”
“I think we have to continue to be a leader in the energy transition with unconventional renewable energy, but we need to keep … conventional energy which is the source of funding for the social programs we have in Colombia,” he said.
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Oil also gives Venezuela power and wealth, which it uses to build ties with countries like Russia and Iran. Duque warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Venezuela as a “mechanism to destabilize the Western Hemisphere,” with Putin saying he also sees Colombia as a “strategic partner of the future.”
“I cursed him when I was president. And we also expelled spies, Russian spies from Colombian territory, and I think we have to keep demonstrating. [to] interesting world that Russia has in Venezuela,” Duque said.
“I think at this point, all Western Hemisphere countries need to reject Vladimir Putin’s intention to bring to the Western Hemisphere the capacity to disrupt,” he continued. “We have seen how they try to get involved in elections and disrupt elections and influence elections by manipulation of algorithms with local media and also with espionage.”
“So I’m clear, and I can say it again, that Russia’s intention to use Venezuela as a … entry point to try to destabilize the region must be very clearly condemned, and [Putin] must also accept the message that he cannot undermine Western democracy.” Duque also called for Putin “to be tried by the International Criminal Court” for his actions involving Ukraine.
Former President Duque also discussed new projects he has overseen since leaving office. One such project he says is to help revive the Amazon in a project known as the Amazon Initiative which is a way to revive and defend the area.
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During the interview, Duque also discussed the influence China is playing on the continent, the appeal of leftism in Latin America, pro-market economic reforms, the war in Ukraine, and the National Liberation Army, a foreign terrorist organization designated by the US State Department. .
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to clarify the approach of Colombian lawmakers to the country’s drug policy.
Andrew Murray of Fox News contributed to this report.
Source : www.foxnews.com