Colombia’s Senate president called on the international community Monday to continue seeking the legalization of drugs “on an international level,” despite U.S. resistance.
Juan Manuel Corzo made the announcement after presidents at the recent Summit of the Americas directed the Organization of American States (OAS) to begin a review into drug control policy in the region.
Corzo said, “We have to keep knocking on the door (…) begin to look for a formula at the international level like legalization with a view to control those who insist on trafficking drugs internationally.”
He added that a swift and open debate was needed since drug usage was on the rise worldwide, citing the United States as an example.
“In the United States the number of consumers and addicts continues to increase. There is talk and speculation that there are more than 22 million people living in that country who are addicted to drugs and the U.S. government does not want to deal with that situation,” said the congressman.
Colombia’s congress, former Presidents Ernesto Samper and Cesar Gaviria, and Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez Maldonado are to hold talks on drug policy Thursday.
President Juan Manuel Santos announced the OAS mandate Sunday, saying the presidents participating at the Summit of the Americas agreed on “the need to analyze the results of current [drugs] policy.” It follows a concerted campaign by him and Guatemalan counterpart Otto Perez Mollina to get the issue of drug legalization on the international agenda.
The presidents, including Barack Obama, agreed to “explore new approaches to strengthen the fight and be more effective,” Santos said. Obama however clearly rejected legalization as a way to curb drug-related violence in the Americas, saying that “legalization is not the answer.”
The Colombian President said it was important to determine “whether [current] policy is working, and if there are alternatives that are more effective and less costly,” adding that the OAS investigation was an “important step.”