Colombia promises help in narcotics fight

PRESIDENT of the Republic of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos Calderon says his country is ready to help Jamaica in the fight against narco-criminals — an ill his country has got a handle on after a 40-year battle.

“We are more than willing to share our expertise and knowledge with all the Caribbean countries and of course with Jamaica. It has been a successful war. We have had to dismantle the big drug cartels.

“In that fight we have lost our best politicians, our best policemen, our best judges, our best leaders but we managed to preserve our principles and our democracy,” President Santos, who was on a state visit to the island, told a public lecture at the University of the West Indies, Mona yesterday.

“We want to share with Jamaica in this area (fighting drug cartels). We in Colombia made a big mistake in thinking this problem wasn’t such a big problem when we discovered it was a big problem it was very late and we had to fight very hard,” said the Colombian president.

“Don’t go into drug trafficking with the mentality drug addicts or alcoholics usually go into, which is a state of denial by saying ‘I don’t have that problem’ because when you wake up it’s too late,” he advised, noting that Colombia faced serious problems because of drug trafficking and its terrible effect on society.

“We continue to fight this phenomenon, Colombia is a different country,” President Santos added.

In the meantime, he said the role played by Caribbean countries, especially Jamaica and Haiti, in Colombia’s struggle for independence could not be ignored.

“Last December Colombia pledged to be the voice of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Security Council and I assure you we will fulfill that promise, in the two years we will have a seat in that body,” he said noting that Latin America and the Caribbean have some nearly 600 million people.

At the same time, President Santos said the international community needs to show much more effective solidarity to Haiti which contributed so much to the freedom of the Americas.

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