Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-01-31-Speech-3-127"

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"Mr President, the population of Colombia is suffering under a regime of poverty, violence and drugs. These three problems can only be solved in interrelation to one another. Many Columbians live in dead-end situations. More than half the population earns less than two dollars a day. The inequality is shocking. Three percent of Columbians own 70% of the land. Many farmers rely on growing coca and poppy as their only means of existence. Social inequality, violent traditions and the lack of state power give guerrilla fighters and paramilitary units free reign to sustain their unscrupulous acts of terror. Their fight for power is essentially a fight for drugs. Lawlessness reigns supreme, and human rights violations are legion. Needless to say, the world drugs problem must mainly be tackled at root level, that is to say also in the producing countries themselves. That is why it is essential for farmers in Columbia to be offered a reasonable alternative to producing drugs. This should also be the focal point of the European contribution. In addition, Europe and America must, of course, also open up their markets to alternative products from Columbia. A unilateral military approach will not offer any solace as long as the deeper causes are not addressed. So far, the contamination of plantations has resulted in serious environmental damage and horrific disorders in people, as well as in a shift of production. However, we should at the same time not be naïve. We need to realise that a hard-line approach is sometimes required the drugs mafia. It is not always possible to win over big-time villains by negotiation alone. Europe should mainly focus on the outcome. The world must be set free from drugs and the Columbian population from poverty and violence."@en1

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