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VP of Colombia to lecture at UCLA

VP of Colombia to lecture at UCLA

Francisco Santos Calderon to discuss his movement to increase awareness about cocaine on Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

Daily Bruin

By Christopher Mastrangelo

The Vice President of Colombia, Francisco Santos Calderon, will be at UCLA today to lecture on problems associated with the use and production of cocaine in Colombia.

The event is sponsored by the Burkle Center for International Relations, the International Institute and the Latin American Institute. The lecture will focus on Calderon’s “Shared Responsibility” movement which has the goal of increasing public awareness about the damaging effects of cocaine use and production.

According to Calderon’s Web site, “Shared Responsibility operates under the simple but steadfast belief that if cocaine consumers were made aware of the atrocious ways in which their drug money is put to use in Colombia, they would not only rethink their cocaine habit but actively support the eradication of coca crops from Colombia.”

“Our personal choices matter, to us and to the world. Cocaine consumption ignites a vicious international cycle of environmental, social and individual destruction of which everyone should be aware,” Calderon said on his Web site.

A major part of the mission laid out by the Shared Responsibility campaign is to create global awareness about the environmental devastation caused by coca cultivation in Colombia.

Shared Responsibility views cocaine use as a contributor to what the campaign calls an ecocide because of the severe negative impact cocaine production has on the environment.

“This topic should be of great interest to the people in Colombia and to us as well,” said Randal Johnson, director of the Latin American Institute. Johnson hopes that there will be a good turnout of both students and interested people from off campus.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held this afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 pm in Kerckhoff Hall.

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