Sign Up for Free Mailing List

August 25, 2001

Narco News 2001

Andean Parliament

Calls L-Word Summit

Perú, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, join

Colombian Call for Regional Policy Change

from the daily EL TIEMPO
Bogotá, August 18, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Andean Parliament opens

debate about drug legalization

Opening the door, once and for all, to the debate about the legalization of illicit drugs, the Andean Parliament, upon ending its 28th congress in Bogota, made its call.

Peru Congressman Carlos Infanta, president of the Third Commission of Parliament, that analyzes issues like narco-trafficking and illicit crops, said that the regulation of the commerce of drugs must begin and will contribute to solving the problems of corruption and violence.

"We have to stop speaking in whispers and confront the issue frankly. There are authoritative opinions, including in the United States, that are proposing legalization. And it is not possible that we in the Andes would be more papal than the Pope," he said.

To spur the discussion, the members of the Andean Parliament will seek to open the debate in the congresses of their respective countries (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru). Also, the issue must be one of the key points of the Andean Summit on Drug Trafficking that will be held in Caracas at the end of this month.

The proposal by 25 members of Parliament was made known as the presidential candidate Luis Eduardo Garzon proposed the theme during his presentation before the National Chamber of Commerce (ANDI) in Cartagena.

Meanwhile, Senator Carlos Holguin, president of the National Conservative Board, said yesterday tat he has backed the legalization of drugs for several years. He said that a National Agreement must be promoted so that official diplomatic channels can make gestures to the international community with the goal of arriving at legalization formulas.

"Today the country is in a position of moral authority, that the past government did not have, to propose this theme," explained the ex governor of Cauca.

For his part, the Venezuelan Congressman Mario Arias, Vice President of the Third Commission of the Andean Parliament, said that although he is not a partisan of legalization, he thinks the debate should happen, and for that reason the Parliament should take advantage of the presence of five United States Congress members at the Caracas Summit so that they will "propose the discussion in their country."

No To Fumigation

Arias also said that another crucial theme for the Caracas meeting will be the analysis of the strategy of aerial fumigation of illicit crops.

In relation to this issue, the Parliament yesterday approved a proposal that asks for suspension of aerial spraying by the governments that currently do it in the Andes region. The recommendation is especially directed at Colombia, where the strategy has generated a polemic.

"We believe that rigorous scientific studies must be made to determine what is the real impact of the herbicides over people and the environment," Arias explained.

To analyze the effect of products like glyphosate, the Parliament charged the Andean Council of Environmental Authorities with studying the effects of this herbicide and formulate alternatives to eradicate illicit crops.

Although the decisions by Parliament are not strictly binding, its political proposals go directly to the presidents of their countries during the meetings of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

Read the Narco News

Opening Statement

(In which we forecasted these historic events)

The Authentic "Andean Initiative"