The President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, reported this Wednesday (24) that he proposed to the United States a change in drug policy so that traffickers who cooperate with the State and do not reoffend are not extradited to American territory, even if they are requested on drug trafficking charges.
The Head of State expressed himself in a joint statement with the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, who is visiting Colombia, explaining the measures to achieve total peace.
“With the US government, yesterday, we said that among the four points we proposed to them to change the policies in the field of drugs, the first point has to do with extradition”, revealed the representative.
Petro pointed out that it was proposed to the US delegation that “drug traffickers who do not negotiate with the State will be extradited, and traffickers who negotiate with the State and reoffend will be extradited without any negotiation with the E. UA.”
However, “a drug trafficker who negotiates legal benefits with the Colombian State and ceases to be a trafficker will not be extradited,” he added.
A delegation of the US, led by the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Rahul Gupta, visited Colombia and held meetings with Petro and various ministers on issues such as the climate crisis, rural development and the drug problem, which are fundamental points of the new bilateral agenda.
The Colombian president declined to reveal the rest of the proposed points, but emphasized that talks in the US will continue to reformulate a drug policy that Petro says has been “a failure.”
Petro initiated a policy that ranges from resuming negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas to negotiations with other groups, but which also involves other types of action.
“We have given orders to end a policy that seems absolutely negative in relation to drugs, which is to fumigate peasants, impose itself on peasants, eradicate crops by force”, said the president this Wednesday.
Another objective is “to revive the National Program Integral for the Replacement of Illicit Crops” in order to intensify the dialogue “between the State and the coca leaf farmers in Colombia, who are the most geographically marginalized in the country”.
In this way , the government hopes to “build alternatives to replace crops that include replacing land, offering agro-industrialization processes for new crops.”
Extradition in Colombia
To stop the spread of drugs, the two countries signed an Extradition Treaty in 1979, during the governments of Julio César Turbay and Jimmy Carter, which Colombia began to apply in 1987, under the presidency of Virgilio Barco (1986-1990).
In response, trafficking leaders created the group Los Extraditables, which included Pablo Escobar and six other members of the Medellin Cartel and whose motto was: “We prefer a grave in Colombia to a prison in the United States.”
The first extradited capo was Carlos Lehder Rivas, in February 1987. Since then, more than 1,000 Colombians have been handed over to US justice for drug trafficking and related crimes.