This breakfast seminar discusses whether ending the five decades old Colombian civil war also requires ending the War on Drugs.
What is the history of the Colombian War on Drugs? How does the issue of drugs feature in the current peace negotiations? How does the Colombian context relate to the broader controversies surrounding the War on Drugs?
President Nixon's declaration of a "War on Drugs" in 1971 has come with enormous humanitarian cost to Colombia. After 9/11, the Colombian U.S financed War on Drugs got caught up in the counterinsurgency tactics of the Global War on Terror, generating more violence. Today, illegal armed actors are not only financed by drugs- drug trafficking has become one of their main activities. The War on Drugs is seen by many as a key obstacle to peace in Colombia. Hence, "Solving the problem of illicit drugs" is listed as the fourth of six agreed issues set out in the General Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In January 2014, FARC presented its proposal to regulate drug production. At the same time, in response to the Colombian situation and to the horrendous violence affecting Central America, there is currently a broad push across Latin America for ending prohibition policies.
Julieta Lemaitre is a lawyer and an associate professor at the Universidad de los Andes Law School in Bogotá and a 2014 PRIO Global Fellow. In her study of social movements, she is particularly interested in the impact of drug-related violence on grassroots organizing.
Sveinung Sandberg is an associate professor at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo. His research focuses on processes of marginalization, violence, masculinity, illegal drugs and social movements.