• Connect with us on Linkedin

FARC Proposes Drug Legalization at Peace Talks

"Ivan Marquez" at peace talks in Cuba "Ivan Marquez" at peace talks in Cuba

At peace talks in Cuba, Colombian guerrilla group the FARC outlined a proposal to legalize drug consumption and cultivation, complementing reforms that are about to be tabled by the Colombian government.

Linkedin
Google +

Speaking at a press conference in Havana, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) chief negotiator Luciano Marin, alias "Ivan Marquez," made the announcement as part of the rebels’ proposals over land use -- one of the six points on the agenda for the peace negotiations.

Marquez called for an "an end to policies of criminalization and persecution, [and] the suspension of aerial fumigation and other forms of eradication that are generating negative socio-environmental and economic impacts."

He added the group wanted the government to "consider plans to legalize marijuana, poppy and coca crops that will be used for therapeutic or medicinal purposes, for industrial use or for cultural reasons."

Marquez also called for the legalization of drug consumption, to be accompanied by "robust education" programs.

According to Colombian investigative news site La Silla Vacia, the FARC’s proposal for drug law reform "fits perfectly" with the latest draft of the government’s National Drug Statute, which the site obtained even though it will not be presented to Congress until March.

La Silla Vacia highlighted five areas in which the proposed law would converge with the FARC’s proposals: demonstrating the government is willing to reconsider the repressive approach to drugs; creating the possibility of legalizing drug crops; restricting aerial fumigation; and creating mechanisms in which coca growers and low-level guerrillas or collaborators will not end up in prison on drug trafficking charges.

Government officials denied there had been any consultation with representatives at the negotiating table, a claim which La Silla Vacia said it had verified.

InSight Crime Analysis

It is not surprising that there is considerable overlap between the FARC and the government proposals.

In recent years, President Juan Manuel Santos has emerged as a key figure in the campaign for international debate over drug laws, and has at least hinted at the sort of liberalization suggested by the FARC. His government has also overseen legislation decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of cannabis and cocaine.

This convergence can only benefit peace negotiations, as addressing the drug trade will, at some point, play a key part in determining the talks' success. The FARC remains deeply involved in the drug trade, especially at the level of coca cultivation, and a central doubt hanging over the process is whether factions within the guerrillas would be willing to relinquish control of lucrative criminal networks to demobilize.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Most Read

Caribbean Cocaine Trafficking Continues Rise: US Officials

Caribbean Cocaine Trafficking Continues Rise: US Officials

The proportion of drugs trafficked through the Caribbean has more than tripled in the space of five years, according to US officials, adding weight to the persistent warnings that traffickers are seeking new routes as...

Read more

Much Ado about Mexico, the State

Much Ado about Mexico, the State

A new report examines the clamor over insecurity and the government's insufficient response in Mexico's largest state, and finds that reality and security priorities do not always overlap.

Read more

Mexico Drug Boss Capture Casts Doubt Over Official Favoritism Talk

Mexico Drug Boss Capture Casts Doubt Over Official Favoritism Talk

Authorities in Mexico have captured a man described as the second in command of the Beltran Leyva Organization, signaling the government's continued pursuit of cartel decapitation and undermining rumors the administration favors the BLO.

Read more