Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos expects to finalize the third point of a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group “in the near future,” in a move to remove the guerrilla group from drug trafficking, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Santos reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that concluding an agreement with the FARC – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – that would put an end to the armed group’s involvement in the drug trade – would have “enormous implications and repercussions for Colombia and the world.”
The Colombian president was in Mexico for a day paying his respects to the legendary Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who he called “the greatest Colombian of all time” following the death of the literary giant on Thursday.
While in Mexico, Santos spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying that the world needed to utilize more “realistic and pragmatic” methods to combat the illicit trade.
“The war on drugs has failed,” he told the Journal.
Negotiating a peace deal with the FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest rebel group, is something Santos claims will be beneficial to both reducing drug trafficking and the armed conflict that plagued the South American nation for the last 50 years.
The FARC has repeatedly insisted that it is not a drug trafficking organization but, that it only taxes all commerce that takes place in its areas of control, including drug trafficking and production.
Santos reportedly told the Organization of American States (OAS) last year that he supports opening a discussion on the legalization of marijuana as a means to stem drug violence at a United Nations special general assembly meeting on drugs in 2016.
On Monday he added that, “How do I explain to a subsistence farmer in Colombia that I have to put him in prison for growing marijuana when in Colorado or Washington state it is legal to buy the same marijuana?”
The FARC and the Colombian government have been engaged in peace negotiations aimed at ending a 50-year armed conflict since November 2012.
The peace deal is broken into six points. All six points need to be agreed upon for the full force of the agreement to come into force. The first main point of the peace talks concerning land and rural development was agreed upon in May 2013. The second, which will protect the political rights of the rebel group, was confirmed in November 2013.
If negotiators are able find agreement on drug trafficking and consumption, they would initially discuss victim reparation before moving to the practicalities of demobilizing the group estimated to have at least 7,000 fighters, and twice as many unarmed activists.
- Colombian President Santos Seeks New Path on Drug War (Wall Street Journal)
- Santos afirmar que espera acuerdo con Farc sobre drogas en futuro cercano (Caracol)