Bogotá, Sept 6 (EFE).- The first Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Drugs, led by Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, opens Friday in Cali to address the failed strategy against drugs and drug trafficking in Latin America.
The conference is a first step toward a major global summit. Representatives from more than 15 countries will attend to discuss “innovative proposals that address the reality of our peoples concerning the international drug problem,” according to the Colombian Foreign Ministry.
“As a great result, we expect a road map that will lead us to a new analysis of world drug policy and (…) to a great international summit of leaders to tackle this important global challenge that has left millions of victims around the world,” said in a statement Colombian Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs Elizabeth Taylor Jay.
The goal is to build discussions toward a new drug policy that faces realities such as addiction and overdoses, drug trafficking, ancestral approaches, and traditional uses of plants such as coca.
“This conference is expected to trigger regional dialogues based on the principle of common experience and shared responsibility that puts life, peace, and development before war and aims to be an example to the international community,” the statement added.
Petro and López Obrador will be responsible for “receiving the conclusions” on Saturday after a “high-level ministerial meeting” led by Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, explained Taylor Jay.
There will also be intergovernmental meetings, thematic forums, and dialogues with civil society to promote social justice, integral development, attention to root causes, and policy analysis of transnational organized crime, among others.
The Mexican President is expected to arrive in Cali on Friday, accompanied by the Secretary of Foreign Relations, Alicia Bárcena, the Secretary of Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, and the Secretary of the Navy, José Rafael Ojeda.
“We are going on an Air Force plane. It is a small delegation. We will have a meeting with President Petro on Friday afternoon. The next day, we will participate in an act to receive conclusions of a plan to deal with problems related to drug trafficking,” Lopez Obrador stated in his daily press conference.
According to the Colombian Foreign Ministry, which has yet to release an official guest list, representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela, among others, will also attend. EFE