According to reports, over the coming days President Ivan Duque will sign a decree allowing police to confiscate any dose of illegal drugs in citizens’ possession. The measure was announced during a speech at an event for Colombians in New York on September 26. Additionally, during his speech at the United Nations’ General Assembly that day, Duque further suggested a broader offensive against drug trafficking and militant groups operating in Colombia.
Duque is seemingly willing to overhaul former President Manuel Santos’ conciliatory policies in regards to drugs and coca production. He is therefore likely to shore up political support for security services, which until recently felt constrained to inspect suspected drug consumers and sellers on the streets. While large sectors of society oppose measures which perceivably empower security services, Duque is unlikely to be hindered by the opposition. Moreover, the government needs to promptly show results in its campaign against drugs to receive financial and logistical support from Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump, who is expected to visit Colombia in December, has complimented Duque’s policies and emphasized his support for more aggressive policies toward reducing coca production in the country. Whereas the Santos administration addressed drug consumption and trafficking as a matter of public healthcare and human rights, Duque is engaging both issues as matters of state security.