Quito, Ecuador

June 14-15, 2005

7forgingecuadorStrengthening organized communities to head up efforts to free themselves from the scourge of drugs was the goal of the international seminar “Forjando Liderazgo” , which took place June 14-15.

Organizing communities such as Guayaquil, Lima, Quito, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, is the only way to train leaders for this great drug-free process: leaders who do this from their own communities, he said.International Prevention Experts from Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador participated in the encounter held at the Sheraton Hotel in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Alejandro Vassilaqui, the Peruvian featured speaker, who has spent the last 18 years working in an institution which leads the fight against drugs, stated that without community support, there is no hope for resolving any one of the grave ills facing the various countries.

“We, in this seminar as well as others, have integrated ourselves into the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas, which is not merely a Regional effort, but one involving North America as well, with the purpose of creating a drug-free continent,” he said.

“We would like to leave from Guayaquil having strengthened this network of institutions, so that it may better fight against drugs,” he stated.

Vassilaqui held that in Peru  -a cocaine-leaf-producing country, 15% is employed for traditional uses, whereas some 85% is made into cocaine base for drug trafficking.
Admitting that he was not so familiar with data from Ecuador, the host country for the seminar, Vassilaqui stated that there was probably little difference between the two in this regard.

Another featured speaker was Juan Alberto Yaria of the Drug Institute of El Salvador University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Director of the Addiction Pathologies Rehab. Center. When there is an epidemic such as the one Latin America is now facing, he said, it is necessary to first strengthen a community by training its leaders, to help them to participate in the healing their own community.

The bad effects of drugs are well known; what should be done is to anticipate this phenomenon with what is known as Prevention.

Another key speaker, Mina Seinfeld, applied the “Ten Thousand Leaders Program” in Rio de Janeiro, stating, “Prevention is the key”. She further explained that all sectors should be involved: churches, athletic clubs, government, and Mass Media prevention campaigns,     -all working together.

The event was organized by “Fundación Semillas” de Amor,( “Seeds of Love” Foundation)  dedicated to illegal drug prevention programs, with the support of the Red Interamericana de Prevención de Drogas (RIPRED/ in English: DPNA, the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas). Also taking part in the seminar were “Acción Social del Municipio de Guayaquil” –a social action department of the Municipal Government of the City of Guayaquil) and the Ecuadorian Air Force.

Source: El Universo (29/06/05)

Transalted by: Gregg Suhm

Category: Drug News