US President Donald Trump is maintaining a national emergency over the “extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy” posed by drug traffickers from Colombia.
The emergency status allows the US government to free up funds to protect threatened interests from actors that “cause an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the United States and abroad,” the White House announced Monday.
The emergency status has been consistently maintained since 1995 and was due to expire on Tuesday.
Colombian and foreign drug traffickers have been trafficking cocaine to the US, the world’s biggest consumption market, since the 1970s and have long been considered targets in the so-called “War on Drugs.”
While since overtaken by drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies, the addictive white powder continues to be used as a party worldwide or as crack cocaine, particularly in the US.
Trump warned Colombia earlier this year over an increase in the production of coca, the base ingredient of cocaine, over the past years.
According to the US president he had considered decertifying Colombia as a cooperative country in efforts to curb drug trafficking.
Trump has been under pressure over a much larger opioid crisis.
While maintaining a ban on cocaine, the US Congress has come under fire for approving legislation that would stimulate the use of addictive prescription drugs.
Colombia is currently undergoing a peace process with former FARC guerrillas that have provided security to coca-growing operations since the early 1980s.
Coca cultivation has increased in the years ahead of the peace deal signed in November last year.
Not only does this pressure relations with the US, it is also putting pressure on the peace efforts.
Smaller illegal armed groups fueled by illegal activity like drug trafficking continue to be active in the country.
These drug traffickers have corrupted officials both inside and outside Colombia.