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News > Colombia

Colombia Assumes Presidency of the EU-CELAC Anti-Drug Mechanism

  • Presidents Andres Lopez (Mexico) & Gustavo Petro (Colombia) in Cali, Sept, 2023.

    Presidents Andres Lopez (Mexico) & Gustavo Petro (Colombia) in Cali, Sept, 2023. | Photo: X/ @IvanCepedaCast

Published 23 February 2024

The failed 'War on Drugs' has left a million victims in Latin America, President Petro recalled.

On Thursday, Colombia assumed the presidency of the Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs between the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), within the framework of the 24th High Level Meeting that took place in La Paz.


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"Colombia and the European Union have the opportunity to build a new policy against drug trafficking that overcomes the failed 'War on Drugs' that has left one million murdered in Latin America," President Gustavo Petro published on the social network X.

The Colombian president has defended this idea in several international forums. In Sept. 2023, for instance, he organized in Cali the "Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Drugs for Life, Peace, and Development."

This meeting set a roadmap for building the new global policy, a proposal endorsed by representatives from 15 countries, including Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO).

At that time, the Petro administration approved a drug policy that seeks to suffocate large traffickers, frame drug consumption as a public health issue, and combat money laundering.

At the Cali meeting, 33 Latin American countries and 27 European countries decided by consensus to give Colombia the presidency of this drug mechanism, which is a bilateral instance for cooperation and action in policy-building between the two regions.

"This instance today takes on greater importance given the reality of the expansion of illicit drug trafficking, its effects on health, the environment, and corruption, and the emergence of proposals to change the war-on-drugs paradigm," the Colombian Foreign Ministry said.

Colombia will also assume the pro tempore presidency of CELAC in 2025, the year it will also host the 4th CELAC-EU Summit, bringing together the 60 heads of state and government.


Gustavo Petro
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