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Are we learning the right lessons from Columbia?


Columbia is rethinking it's drug war . . .


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And while Colombia has broken up large cartels and seen an increase in drug-related arrests it has not affected the business, said Juan Carlos Garzón, an expert on drugs policy with the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington. The country is also facing rising drug consumption rates.

In academic circles the failure of drug policies has long been a given, said John Collins, who leads the London School of Economics expert group on drug policy. “The policy prescriptions did not match the realities on the ground,” he said.

But it wasn’t until 2012 that Colombia, together with Guatemala and Mexico, first proposed holding the special session at the UN this year, saying a rethink of global drugs policy was “urgent”. Mexico has been racked by violence related to powerful drugs cartels and Guatemala is a major transit country for drugs headed to the United States.

“They have tried everything imaginable and they are getting nowhere,” said Collins. “They have credibility [to lead the proposals for new approaches] because they are the states directly affected by the policies.”

In Colombia, which has faced a half-century of conflict with leftist rebel groups, “the drug policies were also a fight by the state for territorial control”, said Garzón. The areas most heavily carpeted with coca consistently overlapped with regions of the country under rebel control.

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But when Dir Bato visited Columbia, this was his take away

--- Quote from: adroth on September 27, 2016, 03:19:47 PM ---Bato: PNP lacks Colombia’s air assets in war on drugs
By: Maila Ager
01:03 PM September 27th, 2016

Colombia is using 60 Black Hawk helicopters and over a hundred aircraft to fight illegal drugs while the Philippine National Police (PNP) has zero air assets, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“I just came from Colombia at yung kanilang dedicated air assets sa war on drugs lang nila, your honor, meron silang 60 na Black Hawk helicopters at saka more than 100 fixed-wing aircrafts (and their dedicated air assets in war on drugs, your honor, include 60 Black Hawk helicopters and and over a hundred fixed-wing aircraft),” Dela Rosa said during the hearing of the Senate committee on finance on the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and its attached agencies.

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Are we missing the right lessons?

Colombia just voted no on its plebiscite for peace. Here’s why and what it means.
By Annette Idler October 3
A supporter of a “yes” vote cries after the nation voted “no” Sunday in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia. (John Vizcaino/Reuters)
On Sunday, the Colombian people rejected the recent peace deal that the Colombian government had reached with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after 52 years of civil war. The plebiscite narrowly failed: 50.2 percent rejected the peace accord, while 49.8 percent were in favor.

What, exactly, were Colombians voting on?

Colombians cast votes on whether they support the peace agreement, reached in August and formally signed on Sept. 26. The content of the 297-page peace accord had been made public before the vote.

[Here’s what you need to know about the vote on Colombia’s historic peace accord the FARC.]

Who voted no?

The “no” vote is not representative of all Colombians. Less than 40 percent of Colombians voted in the plebiscite, leaving many voices unheard. This was partly related to weather conditions; the Caribbean region faced a hurricane, making the journey to the polls extremely cumbersome, especially in rural regions where delicate roads become impassable during heavy rain.

For many voters, a no vote was not a rejection of peace, but a rejection of peace under the given terms. This stance was championed by former president Álvaro Uribe, who led the no campaign. His followers want to see harsher punishment for the FARC, even if in the eyes of the negotiators this was impossible because doing so would lead the FARC to reject the deal.

[Colombians vote against historic peace agreement with FARC rebels]

The vote shows a solid rural-urban divide in Colombia. The country’s peripheries, most torn by the war, predominantly voted in favor of the deal, whereas the majority in the interior of the country voted against. (A notable exception was Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, another supporter of the deal.)

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