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United States Once Again Certifies Colombia as Partner in Global Counternarcotics Efforts

STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LAW (E)

Bogotá, 16 September 2020

Today, the Government of the United States has just announced that Colombia, once again, receives certification as one of the strongest allies in the fight against drug trafficking, which means that the two countries will maintain throughout the year 2021, a close cooperative relationship to combat this scourge.

Similarly, the U.S. Government recognized the courage and commitment of our soldiers and police officers in attacking drug trafficking, intercepting drug shipments, and manually eradicating coca.

This recognition is a sign of the commitment that the Government of the Republic of Colombia has in the fight against drugs.

The statement also highlights the concern shared by the two countries about having all the tools available to combat illicit crops and the entire drug trafficking network and strengthen alternative economic development.

Proof of this is the reduction, for the first time in 6 years, of 9% in the area planted with coca, which went from 169,000 hectares in 2018 to 154,000 in 2019 according to the report of the Integrated System for the Monitoring of Illicit Crops (SIMCI) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

There is no doubt that drug trafficking is the fuel for armed groups and illegal economies in Colombia, and that, in many cases, it is the source of violence, murder of social leaders, degradation of natural resources and the environment. and collective homicides in different areas of our country.

Our commitment has been reflected in the Future Route, one of the flags of the government of President Iván Duque Márquez, conceived as a comprehensive policy to face the drug problem and to reduce the area planted with illicit crops.

Eradication, voluntary substitution, alternative development, disruption of illegal economies, seizures, extinction of dominance, dismantling of the supply of chemical precursors, and impact on illegal economies are some of the programs on which we are making progress in order to obtain more and more convincing results against this scourge.

The fact that the Future Route takes a multidimensional approach with international cooperation has provided a new avenue for collaboration with the United States. Definitely, the data show that we are on the right path to hit drug trafficking with force and effectiveness.

We are aware that it is necessary to continue working on compliance with the protocols defined by the Colombian Constitutional Court in Sentence T-236 of 2017 and in Order 387 of 2019 in order to ensure the safe application of aerial spraying. Aerial spraying is an effective measure to accelerate crop eradication and reduce criminal activity.

Finally, this pronouncement by the U.S. government is, in short, an endorsement of the commitment of the two countries and the support of the United States to continue fighting this transnational crime tirelessly.

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