Public Papers

Statement on the Drug Summit in Cartagena, Colombia


It is truly a great pleasure for me to be in Colombia today. As I have said so many times, my admiration for President Barco, his colleagues, and all the citizens of Colombia who have joined in this difficult struggle to fight international narcotics traffickers have earned my profound admiration and that of the American people. We are deeply grateful.

I am looking forward to a fruitful and productive exchange of views with President Barco, President Garcia [of Peru], and President Paz Zamora [of Bolivia] in Cartagena. The Document of Cartagena, which we will sign, will establish a broad, flexible framework which will help guide the actions of our four countries in the years to come as we fight this war together.

In addition to signing the document, it is just as important that the four of us have an opportunity to exchange views candidly among ourselves concerning this international scourge that affects all of our countries. Frankly, I look forward to learning from my three colleagues today and expect to take home new ideas.

I would like to report this morning some very good news: that we appear to be making headway in the United States in our effort to reduce the demand for cocaine. Some very encouraging statistics were released Tuesday indicating that, on a wide front, drug use is declining, particularly among our young people, which is so important. Drug use among U.S. high school seniors has declined from a high of 32.5 percent in 1982 to a 1989 figure of 19.7. As I know there is great concern with regard to the use of drugs in the United States, I simply wanted to pass that good news on to you this morning.

Note: In the morning, President Bush arrived at Ernesto Cortissoz Airport in Barranquilla. He then went to the Guest House near the Naval Academy in Cartagena. There, President Bush participated in the arrival ceremony, a bilateral meeting with President Barco, and working sessions with the other summit participants.