Juan Manuel Santos used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for a new approach to the war on drugs. He claims that the current zero-tolerance approach is “even more harmful” than all of the other wars being fought around the world. He said it is “time to change our strategy”, as Colombia had “paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices” in the war on drugs.
Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating a peace deal with the Farc rebel group last year. The conflict between the Colombian state and the Farc rebels has killed over 260,000 people and has left over a million internally displaced. The war on drugs played a large part in this conflict.
Aside from the lives lost, the war on drugs is also immoral and ineffective, according to Santos:
“We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community. It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.”
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