Colombia rebels want illicit drugs legalized
HAVANA, Cuba – Colombia’s leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Wednesday called for the decriminalization of the cultivation of marijuana, coca leaf and poppies in the country.
The rebel group, which allegedly finances its operations in part through drug trafficking, said some cultivation of these crops should be legalized for “therapeutic or medicinal uses, industrial uses or for cultural reasons.”
In a statement read out in Havana, where the FARC is engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government, the group called for ending drug eradication programs in order to “improve living and working conditions in rural areas.”
To that end, it proposed “halting the policy of criminalization and persecution, suspending aerial spraying and other forms of eradication that are having negative socio-environmental and economic effects.”
The statement was read by Iván Marquez, the FARC’s lead negotiator in the talks with Bogota.
The proposal was part of an eight-point position paper on land use, which the rebels say is at the center of their almost half-century-old insurgency, the longest in Latin America.
The peace talks, which began in November, are the fourth attempt to settle the conflict through negotiations and the first in a decade.
With an estimated 8,000 fighters, the FARC is the country’s largest and oldest rebel group.
Besides drug trafficking, the group has funded its insurgency through extortion and kidnapping.
It renounced kidnapping for ransom in February 2012, but is currently holding two policemen as “prisoners of war.”
You may be interested
Pic of the Day: Costa Rica’s Isla Nublar (aka Cocos Island)Alejandro Zúñiga - April 18, 2019
Isla Nublar, the setting for much of the "Jurassic Park" series, is unfortunately not a real Costa Rican island. Cocos…
Costa Rica holds Maduro regime responsible for diplomat’s safetyAFP and The Tico Times - April 18, 2019
The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it places responsibility with the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro for…
Venezuela withdraws diplomatic credential from Costa Rican diplomatAFP and The Tico Times - April 17, 2019
Venezuela withdrew the diplomatic credential from the Costa Rican chargé d'affaires on Tuesday in retaliation for the country’s acceptance of…