Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter on Saturday agreed with Colombia’s head of state, Juan Manuel Santos, that “the drug problem” should be considered a “public health issue.”
In a press release from the president’s office, Santos said that he discussed a wide-range of topics with Carter including the 40-year “war on drugs.” Colombia’s head of state said that both he and former president Carter were in agreement that “alternatives” are needed, specifically, that they [U.S. and Colombian governments] must abandon the “punitive approach” and embrace the idea of thinking about drug abuse “as a matter of public health.”
The war on drugs “has been launched for 40 years and, unfortunately, the results are far from satisfactory,” said Santos.
Jimmy Carter, U.S. president from 1977 to 1981 and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, traveled to Bogota to attend a dinner hosted by Colombia’s head of state. Carter’s presence was a sign of international support for the Colombia government’s ongoing peace talks with the country’s largest guerrilla group, FARC.
“While my country is not directly involved in the talks, I am sure that my country and many world leaders support the ongoing process,” said Carter.
“President Carter has come to give backing to the peace process that we have started with the FARC and to learn first-hand about the process,” said Santos.
Santos also took time to exalt Carter, noting that “his contribution and his presence here today, for us, is an honor.”