Media Center

Press Release


  March 12, 2003

Colombia today asked the international community to translate into concrete action the expressions of goodwill conveyed in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the South American country.

Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) Ambassador Horacio Serpa delivered the request as he addressed the Organization’s Permanent Council, assuring delegations that “Colombia is devoting all its resources to fighting threats with which the country is faced.” He observed that his country’s problems were scourges shared by other countries. “Terrorism, illegal drugs, common crimes, corruption, poverty and inequity know no borders.”

He cited shared responsibility as a central principle in discussing how to approach common threats, adding that “Colombia would not be a producer neither would trafficking originate there without coca or heroin ingredients being brought in or without traffickers or consumers in other parts of the world.” Serpa noted, however, that by exercising shared responsibility his country managed to break the dramatic increase in illegal crops in 2001, which fell by 15 per cent in 2002.

The new Colombian envoy described the Inter-American Democratic Charter as “a milestone for the Hemisphere,” but warned that “the region still grapples with countless challenges in the quest for better democracy and stronger political parties as the most effective vehicle through which to settle differences peacefully and constructively.”

Ambassador Serpa also conveyed Colombia’s support for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and suggested the OAS spearhead a hemisphere-wide campaign against poverty and inequality while providing political support for initiatives by other institutions, in order to promote a model for coordination with such multilateral agencies as the IDB, World Bank and UNDP to garner political support for anti-poverty strategies.

Ambassador Serpa was born in Bucaramanga and holds a Ph.D. in law and political science. He has served as Minister of Local Government and the Interior. In 1998 and 2002 he ran for President of Colombia on the Colombian Liberal Party’s ticket.

Reference: E-056/03