Colombian community leaders urged President Barack Obama on March 5 to reform U.S. policy toward Colombia to help end the destructive trade in illegal drugs and more than 40 years of civil war. Speaking on Capitol Hill, Msgr. Hector Henao Gaviria, head of Caritas Colombia, said Colombia’s civil war has had a “very grave humanitarian impact,” especially on displaced families, adding that there must be a joint and “negotiated solution to the armed conflict.”
Colombia is second only to Sudan in the number of internally displaced people, said several Colombian community leaders who also participated in the discussion. Participants also urged Obama to rework the U.S.-Colombia anti-drug policy to “acknowledge the principle of shared responsibility between producer and consumer countries in facing this scourge.” Colombia is Latin America’s largest producer of coca, the main ingredient of cocaine, which is transported north and consumed in the United States.