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Colombia Hosts Key Latin American Anti-Drug Summit


Colombia anti-drug summit Bogota
Colombia’s selection as the summit venue highlights its central role in regional security matters – Credit: ColombiaOne

The capital of Colombia, Bogota, is hosting an essential summit of Latin American countries, focusing on the ongoing battle against drug-related violence. Colombian President Gustavo Petro, addressing the issue from Davos, Switzerland, brought attention to the rise of a new form of violence affecting nations across the continent, including the United States.

Emergence of a New Threat in Latin America

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Petro emphasized the need for a united approach to tackle this burgeoning threat. He introduced the term “multicrime gang,” describing powerful multinational criminal organizations that have originated in Central America. These groups, known for their extensive territorial control and extreme violence, have expanded their influence throughout Latin America.

Petro identified several factors contributing to this surge in violence, including widespread poverty and inequality in Latin American countries, economic sanctions leading to new societal challenges, ineffective U.S. drug policies, and shifts in the cocaine trade, especially in the context of the fentanyl crisis. He called for a reevaluation of U.S. drug policies and advocated for increased social and educational inclusion throughout Latin America.

The upcoming summit in Bogotá, following an initial meeting in Cali, Colombia, represents a collaborative effort by leaders such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Guatemala’s President Bernardo Arévalo de León. This summit aims to address the evolving landscape of criminal activity, marking a significant departure from the challenges of previous decades.

Expanding Influence of Multicrime Gangs

The influence of multicrime gangs extends beyond traditional drug trafficking. These organizations are involved in various illegal activities, including human trafficking, arms smuggling, and money laundering. Their operations have a profound impact on the stability and security of the regions they infiltrate.

Colombia’s selection as the summit venue highlights its central role in regional security matters. The country has long been at the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking and is now addressing the broader spectrum of organized crime.

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