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Paraguay Statement to HLM

Drug traffickers use small planes to go over Paraguayan territory. If 40 – 60kg of cocaine is going over our air space, the minimum the international community could do is support us with the technology we need to identify and intercept these drugs, this is the least that can be expected of international cooperation. From each dollar we have received from other sources we have been able to do million dollars of work. Paraguay has been devoted to eradicating illicit crops but as soon as these crops are destroyed others are planted. The presence of our forces once they have come into these different villages and areas is simply temporary, the plants pop up again. The eradication of illicit crops should have as a prior prerequisite alternative development so before destroying our cannabis fields the international community should be able to provide these poor farmers with legal alternatives. Paraguay would like to make a friendly observation – there must be an end to the discrimination that exists between marijuana fields and coca and opium fields when it comes to international agencies deciding what cooperation they are going to make available for alternative development. The cooperation received by coca farmers is considerable and they get tariffed preferences for the manufactured replacement products but those who produce marijuana don’t get these incentives – there is discrimination and there is no incentive for these farmers to grow something else. In our national assembly there is a bill for decriminalisation of personal consumption. My delegation is going to evaluate this possibility for marijuana. Paraguay is aware of the economic cloak of transnational trafficking gangs which will seek to have political power locally and legally therefore we must endow technological and upgraded human resources so as to strengthen work against corruption. In concluding, given the emphasis laid, we would hope alternative development would be applied to marijuana as well. We add our voice to other distinguished developments but we ask that you do not rule out any natural plant.

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