“Colombia is winning, Colombia at some moment produced closed to 1,000 tons of cocaine per year. In the last year, Colombia produced 180. It is a very, very big amount still, but if you look at the trend you see that Colombia is in a very good part of decline,” explained Uribe. “It is possible to win this battle.”
The former head of state examined the link between drugs and organized crime, stating “narco-trafficking is the engine of terrorism in Colombia in this moment.”
Uribe also touched on criminal gangs that enlist Colombian youth into their ranks and asked “how can we prevent youngsters from being recruited by organized crime? It needs education, technology, micro-lending and at the same time capital funds to reach the base of the pyramid. The new generations should not have the same nightmare of violence that my generation and others have suffered in my country.”
The former president pointed out the difference between other Latin American countries and Colombia, saying that “other countries in Latin America suffer dictators and guerrillas fought dictators. In my country we have enjoyed democracy and guerrillas, paramilitaries, and all these criminal groups have done their best to destroy our democracy.”
Uribe was quick to explain that despite nearly 50 years of armed conflicts with groups like the FARC, his administration reconciled with many armed groups.
“As strict as we were against violence, we were generous to open our hands, to receive with generosity those who made the decision to reintegrate into our society… and of course we had the demobilization of 52,000 members of the violent groups,” said Uribe.
Uribe also stressed the importance of removing hatred from the fight against armed groups.
“FARC killed my father and FARC has killed many, many Colombians. Of course I am sad, I will never forget, but I cannot hate.”