Colombia’s Cocaine Boom Could Be a Blessing in Disguise for Petro

Colombia’s Cocaine Boom Could Be a Blessing in Disguise for Petro
Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaks during a ceremony in Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 3, 2023 (Sipa photo by Chepa Beltran via AP Images).

During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, Colombian President Gustavo Petro fulminated against Washington’s failed policies targeting drug trafficking, betraying something approaching schadenfreude at the current opioid crisis in the United States. “They wanted a war against the drugs of the rebellious youth that opposed the war in Vietnam,” Petro declared, “and they ended up taking their society to the drug of neoliberalism and incompetence.” Now, he added, the U.S. faces the scourge of fentanyl, the drug “of death.”

No one paying attention would disagree with the assessment that the “war on drugs” has failed miserably, a fact Petro noted in his inaugural address in August 2022 and again at last year’s U.N. General Assembly. But highlighting the failure of previous strategies to tackle drug trafficking does nothing to protect the embattled Petro from what has happened to Colombia’s cocaine trade since he took office.

Petro already has his hands full with a host of problems that have brought his approval ratings to dismal lows. The news from the drug front, where he promised a new approach and is now vowing to step up his efforts, will not help.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review