Colombia's first leftist president declared that the war on drugs has failed. Gustavo Petro, a former member of Colombia's M-19 guerrilla group, vowed to fight inequality and bring peace to a country long haunted by bloody strife between government, drug traffickers and rebels, PA Media reported.
Colombia gets a second chance to fight violence and poverty, he said. He promised that his government will pursue economic policies that address long-standing inequalities and provide "solidarity" to the most vulnerable.
The incoming president said he was ready to begin peace talks with armed groups across the country, calling on the United States and other developed countries to change drug policies that have focused on banning substances such as cocaine and have fueled violent conflicts in Colombia and other Latin American countries.
"It’s time for a new international convention that accepts that the war on drugs has failed,” he said. “Of course peace is possible. But it depends on current drug policies being substituted with strong measures that prevent consumption in developed societies."
Petro is part of a growing group of leftist politicians and political outsiders who have won elections in Latin America since the pandemic began.
The former rebel's victory was also exceptional for Colombia, where voters have historically been reluctant to support leftist politicians, often accused of being soft on crime or allied with guerrillas.