Cardinal Maradiaga: Europe is doing too little against drug use

Cardinal Maradiaga: Europe is doing too little against drug use Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. Photo UNE TV Facebook page
By Tobias Käufer (KNA)

Record drug finds in harbours in the Netherlands and Belgium, record production in Colombia. Plus almost weekly reports of violence in Mexico, Ecuador and Argentina. In Latin America, the power of the drug cartels appears to be increasing all the time. Now one of the most prominent heads of the Catholic Church in Latin America has joined the debate and criticised the consumer markets in Europe and the USA.

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga said on TSI’s “Al Banquillo” programme that the main problem in the fight against drug trafficking is that neither consumption is being combated, nor is action being taken against the money that is deposited in international banks from these illegal activities.

This money is stained with the blood of the victims, said the Archbishop Emeritus of Tegucigalpa. “Europe and the United States are major consumers of drugs, and they do not pursue consumption, but rather promote illegal trade and money,” said Rodriguez Maradiaga. The synthetic drug fentanyl, which is also on the rise in Honduras, is the “worst poison” that currently exists in Honduras. It is sad that people would deliberately accept the death of other people in order to earn money.

Most recently, Colombian Vice President Francia Marquez also called for the West to take more energetic action in the fight against money laundering in the drug trade. It is known that corruption does not only exist in Colombia, but that it is transnational corruption and that the corruption circles in which the money from the drug trade is laundered are not being combated. “Here, the weakest of the weakest are persecuted, farmers, indigenous people, black people, women,” Marquez recently told the newspaper Die Welt. “But I have never seen a national or international bank confiscated for money laundering,” said the Vice President. Colombia is considered the world’s largest cocaine producer.

The authorities from Belgium and the Netherlands recently sounded the alarm at a joint press conference in Vlissingen in the Netherlands. In Antwerp, Belgium alone, around 116 tonnes of cocaine were seized last year. The all-time record of 109.9 tonnes in 2022 was thus surpassed once again. The drugs originate primarily from Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. A few days ago, Ecuador reported a record find of around 20 tonnes of cocaine.

The South American country of Ecuador was recently hit by a series of violent outbreaks. During the Ecuadorian election campaign, presidential candidate and investigative journalist Fernando Villavicencio, who was investigating corruption in Ecuadorian politics, among other things, was murdered a few weeks ago.