Ivn Duque decries social acceptability of drug that inflicts environmental and social damage on producers
Middle-class cocaine users are inconsistent hypocrites if they fail to recognise the environmental and social damage their drug use is inflicting on producer countries, the Colombian president has said during a visit to London.
In an interview with the Guardian on Monday, Ivn Duque said that cocaines social acceptability had to end. There are many people who present themselves as environmentalists, and if they want to be coherent, they must understand all the environmental damage that is caused by the production of cocaine not just destroying tropical forests, [but] spreading chemicals in protected areas and destroying human capital, he said.
Duque said that cocaine production leads to the destruction of thousands of hectares of tropical forest. Its not just big social damage, but environmental damage. How can you present yourself as a defender of the environment when you are creating so much harm? There needs to be an end to hypocrisy and inconsistency, he said.
Asked what he thought of admissions by prominent British politicians including the Conservative leadership candidates Michael Gove and Boris Johnson that they have used cocaine, Duque said: The issue with illegal drugs is, they not only have a bad effect on your health, but potentially on third parties. Its not advice to candidates. Its advice to human beings.
However, Duque also pledged to relaunch the aerial spraying of coca crops with herbicides within weeks a process that has been widely criticised by farmers for devastating legal crops alongside illicit plantations.
Colombia suspended the aerial fumigation of coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine, in 2015 after the World Health Organization linked the herbicide glyphosate to cancer. The decision was later backed by the countrys constitutional court.