Colombia’s defense minister says drug policy must be long-term

Article originally appeared in ReutersColombia must maintain eradication and substitution of coca crops as a long-term policy across the Andean nation’s isolated jungle and mountain zones to permanently defeat drug trafficking and consolidate peace, the defense minister told Reuters.

A new government, which will be elected next year, must keep up the policy if the nation hopes to stamp out the illegal drugs industry, which has funded Colombia’s half century war that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions.

“There can be no interruption to this policy because there’s a new government, not in 2018, nor in 2022 or 2026,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, 60, said in an interview. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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