The Summit of the Americas has opened an unprecedented debate on new initiatives to combat the trafficking of narcotics.
Disagreements amongst leaders of the 33 nations present precluded a definitive conclusion on the issue, according to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. But the summit provided the occasion to renew dialogue on the war on drugs at a presidential level.
“No statement was issued precisely because there is no consensus,” said Santos in the final press conference.
The Colombian president pushed for alternative approaches to the international policy on drugs. The far-reaching reforms could result in radical changes to the current policy of prohibition. Since the approach was launched by President Nixon in 1971, both production and consumption have continued to rise, resulting in thousands of deaths worldwide.
All the leaders “have agreed on the need to analyse the results of the current policy that is implemented in Latin America and to explore new approaches to strengthen the fight and implement more effective methods,” said Santos.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) will head the investigation with information from other agencies such as Pan American Health Organisation and the UN office on drugs.
All of the countries who attended the summit also agreed on the creation of an inter-American centre to combat the escalating levels of organised crime in Mexico.
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner left the summit prematurely on Sunday, according to Colombian journalists. Her exit, before the closing ceremony, was allegedly in response to the lack of consensus on Argentina’s claim to sovereignty of the Falklands/Malvinas.
Bolivian president Evo Morales also left before the official closure.
The lack of consensus on Cuba’s participation has threatened the continuity of the summit. The leftist ALBA bloc announced that member countries would not participate in the upcoming summit without the presence of the Caribbean island.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro stated that “all Latin America” is united in demanding the presence of Cuba at these summits but the US and Canada maintain “their imperialist positions” and refuse to open doors to the “only excluded nation.”
The Colombian president expressed hope that Cuba will participate for the first time at the next Summit of the Americas due to be held in Panama in 2015.