Speech Highlights of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize at Oslo, Norway

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The Colombian peace agreement is a ray of hope in a world troubled by so many conflicts and so much intolerance.

It proves that what, at first, seems impossible, through perseverance may become possible even in Syria or Yemen or South Sudan.

I am very happy to be here in Norway to receive this very very important prize that uplifts not only me as a Colombian and as a president of Colombia but the whole Colombian people, a country that has been in war for over half a century.

I have served as a leader in times of war – to defend the freedom and the rights of the Colombian people – and I have served as a leader in times of making peace.

Allow me to tell you, from my own experience, that it is much harder to make peace than to wage war.

That is the great paradox I have found: while many who have not suffered the conflict in their own flesh are reluctant to accept peace, the victims are the ones who are most willing to forgive, to reconcile and to face the future with a heart free of hate.

We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community.

It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.

The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined.

It is time to change our strategy.


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