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  • Colombian anti-drug policemen prepare to raid a cocaine laboratory near Saravena January 20, 2009.

    Colombian anti-drug policemen prepare to raid a cocaine laboratory near Saravena January 20, 2009. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 February 2015

The Latin American bloc UNASUR will look into ways to dismantle ineffective prohibitionist standards, according to officials.

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will meet in Uruguay next month to discuss “political alternatives to drug policies,” the bloc’s Secretary-General Ernesto Samper announced Tuesday.   

According to Samper, the former President of Colombia, he would like to see “an alternative policy” that is not based “on legalization as an alternative,” but one that will “go slowly dismantling the prohibitionist standards,” he told EFE in an interview in October. 

“Today, we are tough on farmers, we are tough on mules carrying (drugs), we are hard on consumers and we are weak with criminal organizations,” said Samper. 

Leaders from the Latin American and Caribbean bloc hope to reach an agreement and present it to the United Nations by the next General Assembly meeting in 2016, an official source told EFE. 

Read More: Global Drug Report: Don’t Just Decriminalize, Demilitarize

According to Samper, this should include implementing better mechanisms to prosecute the crime and not to criminalize those “weak links in the chain,” but rather to “help them out of trouble.”  

In an effort to tackle the issue of drug trafficking, Uruguay legalized the sale of domestic production of marijuana last year. 

The world's approach to the war on drugs has largely been considered a failure, as drug gangs continue to thrive in places like Colombia and Mexico, while police forces are seeing increased militarization and thousands of lives are being lost in the bloody battle. 

In September of 2014, former heads of state and other global political figures released The Global Drug Report, where they called the current war on drugs a “failure” and endorsed the decriminalization of drugs, including heroin and cocaine.  



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