Colombia and Mexico call for a unified Latin American response to the drug problem

Cali, Colombia, Sept 9 (EFE).- Colombia and Mexico led on Saturday the conclusion of the Latin American and Caribbean Conference, from which they called on the 15 participating countries to unify positions in “a single voice” to change the traditional narrative on drugs and provide solutions to a global challenge.

“We wanted to support Colombia in this meeting because now, more than ever, it is necessary to advance in this paradigm shift and address the drug problem with a more comprehensive approach,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena at the closing ceremony of the conference, which began Thursday in the Colombian city of Cali.

Together with Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva, Bárcena called on Latin America and the Caribbean to address “the root causes of the continued expansion of drug trafficking.”

Turning to her northern neighbor, the United States, which is represented at the conference by a low-level delegation that came as an observer, she said. “Our countries are not responsible for the fact that a society has these issues of drug use and social problems,” she said.

For his part, Leyva said that drugs and drug trafficking “somehow link all the countries of the region.”

“Never before has Ecuador been subjected to the abuse of the mafias as it is now,” the Colombian foreign minister cited as an example.

And he called for a “very broad conversation” in which each participating delegation will be heard, as a “first step” toward a definitive forum in which the heads of state and government of Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to participate.

The conference will be closed later on Saturday by Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who began his first official visit to Colombia on Friday. EFE



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