Committed to war on drugs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 1997, 12:00am

An article in your newspaper 'Star witness in war on drugs' (South China Morning Post, May 16), tried to portray a historical account of the activities of one person within a powerful drug-trafficking organisation in Colombia.

In doing so it painted a bleak and largely misleading picture of the country.

Mention should be made of Colombia's strong and courageous stance against drug trafficking.

As a result, the infamous Medellin cartel was destroyed, the leaders of the so-called Cali cartel have either been killed or jailed and other drug trafficking organisations are on the defensive.

Colombia has taken a leadership role in the fight against drug trafficking. Last year alone it spent US$1.3 billion (about HK$10 billion) to fight the drug war.

It recently enacted tough new asset forfeiture laws and increased penalties for drug trafficking and has fumigated more hectares of coca and poppies, seized more quantities of drugs, and destroyed more processing labs and clandestine airstrips than ever before.

Furthermore, a far-reaching campaign against corruption has been launched. An ongoing investigation by the independent prosecutor-general has already landed about 70 people in jail, some of them former government officials.

President Ernesto Samper was investigated for his presumed responsibility for the reception of drug money during the presidential campaign.

The House of Representatives found there was no evidence to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.

The fact that drugs are a multi-faceted problem does not mean that countries should grow complacent and tolerant. That is certainly not the case in Colombia. We hope the international community rises to the challenge and begins to bear its share of the responsibility of tackling the drug menace.