The new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, asked all illegal armed groups to lay down their arms and accept legal benefits in exchange for peace to end decades of violence in the South American country.
Petro, a 62-year-old economist, took office as the first left-wing president in Colombian history, promising to push through ambitious economic and social reforms to reduce poverty and inequality in a nation politically divided and battered by violence.
"Peace is possible if we unleash social dialogue in all the regions of Colombia, to meet in the midst of differences, to express ourselves and be heard, to search through reason for common paths of coexistence," said the president. in his inaugural speech.
"We also call on all those who are armed to lay down their weapons in the shadows of the past. To accept legal benefits in exchange for peace, in exchange for the definitive non-repetition of violence, to work as owners of a prosperous but legal economy. to put an end to the backwardness of the regions," he added.
Petro also asked the international community for a new strategy to combat drugs and assured that the anti-drug policy had failed.
"It is time for a new International Convention that accepts that the war on drugs has failed, that it has left a million Latin Americans murdered during these 40 years, and that it leaves 70,000 North Americans dead by overdoses every year. That the war on drugs strengthened the mafias and weakened the states," said Petro.