The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates comes just days after López Obrador sent a proposal to Congress for an amnesty law that would allow some criminals, including young people convicted of minor drug offenses, to be released from prison.
Colombia passed a similar amnesty law in late 2016 that protected guerrilla fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, from prosecution for minor crimes committed during the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war.
Juan Manuel Santos, who was president of Colombia between 2010 and 2018 and the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2016, said on Twitter on December 28, 2016 that Congress’ approval of the amnesty law was the “first step towards the consolidating peace.”
However, asked about López Obrador’s amnesty plan at a press conference in Mérida on Thursday, the ex-president expressed a very different view.
“Amnesty has evolved. The world learned that the clean slate [approach] has more problems than benefits in the long run. But transitional justice . . . returns rights to victims,” Santos said.
Transitional justice includes measures such as criminal prosecutions, the establishment of truth commissions, the payment of reparation for victims of human rights violations and the reform of laws and institutions, including the police, judiciary and military, according to the International Center for Transitional Justice.
Santos also told reporters that the solution to the problem of drug trafficking lies in the lifting of the prohibition of narcotics.
“Prohibition is the source of criminality . . . The world has to evolve toward what happened with liquor in the United States,” the ex-president said referring to the end of prohibition in 1933.
“It’s been 45 years since the war on drugs was declared and the war hasn’t been won. Colombia is the country that has had the most victims and we’re still the main exporter of cocaine.”
Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin closed out the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates with a performance that echoed the week’s message of equality and human rights.
With the Monument a la Patria in the background, Martin entertained thousands, starting with “Maria” and ending 90 minutes later with “La Mordidita.”
Just as he did when he received a World Peace Prize of his own hours before in the International Convention Center, Martin gave a shout-out for marriage equality.
“As a member of the LGBT community we do not ask for more rights than the rest of the citizens, nor less,” Martin told his fans. “We simply want equality; it’s very simple.”