Colombian President Gustavo Petro put forward the proposal to end the "prohibition" of cocaine during his inaugural address in August. According to the leftist leader, the country will work with its leftist neighbors through legislation and alliances to turn Colombia into "a laboratory for drug decriminalization."
"It is time for a new international convention that accepts that the War on Drugs has failed, said Petro.
Felipe Tascon, Petro's drug czar, concurred with the president. He said the bid to decriminalize cocaine is a rare opportunity to unite the governments of cocaine-producing nations in Latin America such as Peru and Bolivia. Incidentally, both countries also have leftist presidents.
"Drug traffickers know that their business depends on [cocaine] being prohibited," said Tascon. "If you regulate [the cocaine trade] like a public market, the high profits … [and] the drug trafficking [both] disappear.
The drug czar argued that by regulating the sale of cocaine, the Colombian government would wrest the market from armed groups and cartels.
An economist by profession, Petro expressed his desire to meet with his counterparts in Peru and Bolivia to tackle the decriminalization of cocaine at the regional level. At the domestic level, his administration sought to bring back legislation decriminalizing both cocaine and marijuana. The Petro administration also sought to put an end to aerial spraying and the manual eradication of the coca plant, which is processed to make cocaine.
Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine and is responsible for more than 90 percent of the drug seized in the United States. As such, the plan to decriminalize cocaine undermines Bogota's long-standing and profitable counter-narcotics partnership with Washington.
The U.S. has spent billions of dollars to fund a strategy with a view to destroying the coca plantations in rural Colombia. Furthermore, U.S. intelligence and other agencies have lent a hand to the Colombian military's decades-long effort to rid the country of coca. Despite these efforts, and more than 50 years of the war against cocaine, recent figures showed that production of the drug has hit record levels.
A former official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed fears that the move would limit the agency's ability to collaborate with the Colombians on drug trafficking-related cases.
"It would be devastating not just regionally, but globally," said the official. "It would incrementally kill the cooperation. Everyone would be fighting from the outside in."
Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer, meanwhile, reiterated that both the Biden administration and the U.S. at large do not support the decriminalization of cocaine. Finer was able to meet the Colombian leader in the U.S., prior to the latter's inauguration.
"Somewhere from the depths of hell, Pablo Escobar is smiling," wrote Monica Showalter in a piece for the American Thinker.
Showalter explained that while Bogota plans to tax and regulate the sale of cocaine, "illegal growers and dealers can make much more money by staying in the underground economy, undercutting the legal growers and dealers."
She pointed to the example of California, which legalized marijuana. "Pot shops all over the state are going out of business based on this dynamic. Winner? The same old illicit drug dealers who don't pay taxes or bother with regulation." (Related: Dutch Police Union head: The Netherlands is now a NARCO-STATE with a parallel economy.)
According to Showalter, Petro's move to decriminalize cocaine is a stepping stone for the legalization of the drug – to the benefit of his narco-guerilla allies, "which would enable them to make money hand-over-fist with their already existing drug-dealing monopolies."
She concluded that Colombia was "the original cartel narco-state and home of Escobar himself. It, along with Mexico and its cartels whom the Colombians worked with, became the big reason the War on Drugs got started in the first place."
Watch Gabor "Gabe" Zolna talk about the seizure of more than 400 pounds of cocaine by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers below.
This video is from the zolnareport.com channel on Brighteon.com.