Former President of Colombia
Former Colombian President César Gaviria is known in Latin America as a conflict mediator, advocate of democracy, staunch supporter of regional integration, and defender of human rights. Elected OAS Secretary General in 1994 and re-elected for a second term in 1999, he fostered profound institutional changes that reinvigorated the inter-American agenda and prepared the organization to meet the challenges the region faces today. During his tenure, the OAS intensified efforts to improve hemispheric security and combat terrorism, drugs, and corruption. Read More >
The war on drugs has failed. And it's high time to replace an ineffective strategy with more humane and efficient drug policies. This is the central message of the report by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy presented to the public recently in Rio de Janeiro. Read More >
The main proposal is a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action, one must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system. Read Less ^
President Gaviria was, by far, the most substantive, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and engaging speaker we have had. In short—outstanding. I would very much like to bring him again next year. Thank you and please give President Gaviria my deep gratitude and best regards."