Sign Up for Free Mailing List

August 25, 2001

Narco News 2001

Governors: End

Drug Prohibition

Historic Resolution by National

Assembly of Colombian Govs

Reports from El Espectador and El País...

...translated by The Narco News Bulletin

from the daily El Espectador
Bogotá, August 24, 2001

By Élber Gutiérrez Roa

Governors Seek Legalization

Considering that the problem of drug trafficking must be resolved by common agreement between friendly countries and not by "ineffective policies like fumigation," the governors of the country yesterday asked the government to lead a grand international debate about legalizing drugs.

That is what they declared yesterday during the 31st General Assembly of Governors in Paipa, Boyaca, where the Interior Minister, Armando Estrada Villa, repeated that legalization is inconvenient in the judgment of the executive branch, but that he agrees in opening the debate over the issue.

The governor of Antioquia, and president of the National Assembly of States, Guillermo Gaviria, said: "We cannot keep our heads between our legs and continue with the same strategies of 30 years ago" to combat narco-trafficking.

"Colombia must lead the discussion of the issue in the international stage to commit all the countries of the world without hypocrisy or double standards," said Gaviria. Although he recognized that there is not unanimity over the issue, the governor said that the Congressional bill to legalize the production, sale and consumption of drugs that are, today, illegal, sponsored by Senator Viviane Morales, is a good beginning point to make the world think about a true alternative to end this plague.

"There are no magic solutions, and legalization is not necessarily the solution, but I believe in a controlled legalization," said the leader from Antoquia

Hernando Emilio Zambrano, governor of the state of Amazonas, said: "The entire world is asking for this solution (the legalization of drugs) because we know that it is the only way to end the high price."

Meanwhile, the governor Cundinamarca, Álvaro Cruz, insisted on the necessity to open the debate, on an international level, over the issue.

Secretary Estrada Villa told the governors that he agrees with the idea of a debate but that "we in the Government have the obligation not to take positions about the legislation by Senator Morales and we consider it noxious" to the national interests.


From the daily El País
Cali, August 24, 2001

Legalization divides the

Government and the Governors

The discussion about legalizing drugs in Colombia separates the government and the governors, who took opposite sides of the issue during the 31st General Assembly of Governors.

On the one hand, the government, led by Interior Minister Armando Estrada Villa, reiterated in Paipa, Boyaca, the official position, that "the government is radically opposed to the legalization of drugs, considering it an inopportune and noxious project for the interests of the nation."

"Colombia can not, unilaterally, embark upon a discussion of such a delicate theme, without having resolved the issues of prohibition, the fumigations and the globalization of the issue expressed by the United Nations" said the Minister to the governors.

At the same time he declared himself, in the name of the government, opposed to the bill proposed by Senator Vivian Morales, and said that "we have a monolithic position before the Congress, yet we still recognize that it is useful to the extent it causes a merely academic discussion."

Estrada Villa insisted that the government doesn't reject a possible opening of the debate, but said that he would only "accept the management of the issue of drugs in the context of interdiction, fumigations and institutional strengthening, that are issues of high concern for the executive branch."

For his part, the president of the National Federation of States and current governor of Antoquia, Guillermo Gaviria, not only supported the drug legalization bill but also said that "Colombia must lead the internationalization of the discussion, because this is a problem for the international community."

Gaviria, declaring himself a partisan for the discussion over the issue, said "we cannot hide our heads under the ground and continue fighting against the plague of drugs with the same instruments that we have been employing for 30 years."

"The fumigations are one of these tactics that are sent to do it, but have not offered the hoped-for results and are an aggression against the population and the sectors that have to live with them," said Gaviria, who was spokesman for the governors.

Read the Narco News

Opening Statement

(In which we forecasted these historic events)

The Immediate History of Our América