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Columbia President Urges Drug Testing

Colombia’s president proposed a new front in the global war on drugs: mass drug testing for Americans and Europeans. Reviving the traditional conflict between drug-producing and drug-consuming nations, President Alvaro Uribe said Friday the tests would dry up demand for drugs that Colombian insurgents sell to finance their decades-old civil war.

“We need more serious commitments from the consumer countries,” Uribe said at a conference of Spanish and Latin American attorney generals. He called on “the people in the United States and Europe to submit to a drug test to help us conquer drugs.” Uribe singled out American and European executives to start the process.

Colombia produces 90 percent of the world’s cocaine. Drug trafficking supports both the leftist rebels waging a bloody 38-year war against the government and their rivals, the illegal right-wing militias. Some 3,500 people die in the fighting every year. Many Colombians believe the government could win the war quickly if it weren’t for the money the rebels and the right-wing militias make from the drug trade.

Uribe has promised a hard-line crackdown on both sides, and with drug traffickers. He has also proposed making possession of even a small amount of drugs illegal. Since 1994, the possession of a personal supply of cocaine or marijuana has been legal. But even though consumption is legal, the levels of drug use in Colombia are low compared to the United States and Europe.

Posted by A. Shapiro
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