Colombia es pasión (3), for big trouble

Tons of cocaine have been seizedBad news for Colombia and bad news for president Uribe, who is still in crossroads of soul if he is going to try to be reelected or not. The amount of coca and cocaine produced in Colombia hardly has been reduced, writes the National Council for Planning. The Council warns against a ‘gangsterisation’ of the country.This happens while Colombia is doing everything to improve its image. It has developed a campaign, Colombia es pasión, to attract tourists and investors. Already famous is the slogan Colombia, the only risk is that you may want to stay, which has a group on Facebook as well.

Mr. Uribe’s important argument to be reelected is a higher security in the country and – according to the government and the army – an almost defeated guerrilla. And now the council writes that the drugs traffickers gangs have become more violent and that still new gangs are appearing.

In the meantime the police reports big catches of drugs almost every week. Thousands of hectares of coca have been destroyed and tons of cocaine are intercepted on their way to the United States and Europe. And the effect is none?

Colombia’s government hasn’t been sensible to the argument yet, but some former Latin American presidents, like Colombia’s César Gaviria, have stated that the war on drugs should be replaced by a more human approach. Consumption of cocaine should be treated as a health problem and in that way consumption should be reduced. Others cautiously plead for legalisation, although there is still little support for such a measure.

The only way things can change is a shift in the United States drugs policy and there are signals that this is happening. The question is if this also has consequences for Plan Colombia, which also was designed to finish with Colombia drugs trade. And the question is if convinced hawk Álvaro Uribe would be able to manage such a change.

The months to come are going to be exciting. Colombia is warming up for the presidential elections in 2010. The guerrilla is showing it is not defeated yet, new gangsters are appearing all the time. You cannot deny it: Colombia es Pasión, for beauty, for rhythm and for big trouble.

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