The new president of Colombia is looking to stop the extradition of drug lords who negotiate with his government. Drug lords who do not negotiate would be extradited to the U.S. and other countries as they make requests.
The push comes just weeks after the far-leftist President Gustavo Petro took office last month.
“Drug traffickers who negotiate with the Colombian State (…) will not be extradited,” Petro said during a recent news conference.
According to the proposal announced by Petro, drug traffickers who negotiate legal benefits with the Colombian state and cease criminal activity would not be extradited to the United States. He also stated that those who do not negotiate or re-offend will be extradited without the right to any type of negotiation in Colombia, El Espectador reported.
The controversial move has been brewing for months after news broke in July that Petro received letters from the feared Colombian cartel Clan del Golfo and other criminal organizations asking for peace and a different solution to armed conflict.
Petro has publicly claimed that he is determined to extinguish the country’s last internal conflict through negotiations with the groups that remained in arms after the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas, converted into a political party. The Colombian president is trying to open new negotiations with armed groups and criminal gangs such as the Clan del Golfo — the most powerful cartel in the country, with the aim of bringing them to justice with some legal benefits.
Despite Pietro’s efforts, he has already approved the extradition of several drug traffickers that have been requested not only by the U.S. but also by Spain, Brazil, and Argentina, La Semana reported.
During the administration of his predecessor Iván Duque, Colombia carried out more than 700 extraditions — the most notable being that of Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, known by the alias “Otoniel”, head of the Clan del Golfo. Petro said talks will continue with the U.S. government on proposed changes to drug policy — the first point of which is extradition. Biden administration officials have not publicly commented on Petro’s efforts.
Colombia continues to be the largest producer of cocaine in the world. In 2021, 234,000 hectares of coca leaf were cultivated as compared to 2020 when 245,000 were registered, according to the report of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Petro, the first leftist president in Colombia, seeks to change strategies to combat drug trafficking.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“C.P. Mireles’ from the Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report.