War on Drugs — 08 March 2012

Leaders of central American nations agreed to debate alternatives to fight drug trafficking given in the proposal to decriminalize drug trafficking put forth by Guatemala. This coincided with a visit to the region by US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

The vice president of Guatemala, Roxana baldetti, met two days ago with the Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli; Laura Chiniclla, the president of Costa Rica; Porfirio Lobo, the president of Honduras; and Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua to outline President Otto Perez Molina’s proposal to “the debate the pro and cons”.

These leaders agreed to join the debate, which would discuss the decriminalization of drug trafficking, a business which generated $400 billion USD to the cartels since the year 2000.

Regarding Washington’s support of the idea, the USA reiterated a firm posture against that saying, “[drugs] impacts the productivity of whatever country, impacts health costs, impacts mortality rates,” said Biden During his stay in Mexico.

The USA, the consumer of 37% of the worldwide production of cocaine, “doesn’t consider decriminalization viable, does not consider this to be the best way to fight drug trafficking”, said department of homeland secretary Janet Napolitano last week after a meeting with the president of Guatemala.

Biden had lunch Tuesday with various central American leaders, including President Perez Molina, during his official visit to Honduras, part of the Summit of the Americas, which will open in Colombia in April and where  Molina will formally put forth his proposal.

The Guatemala president seeks to distance himself from the war on drugs that in central America is the cause of 60% of the violent deaths there according to the United Nations. Mexico is one of the countries most affected, but the violence there is less than in the central American nations according to  a study. The study shows that in 2008 there were 12 killings per each 100,000 people in Mexico, while there were 61 in Honduras, 52 in El Salvador, and 49 in Guatemala. The governments of Mexico admits the need to debate this idea “at an international level”, explained Patricia Espinoza, the foreign minister.

From Colombia, another of the countries most affected by the drug trafficking violence, in November the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos put forth a proposal to legalize marijuana and cocaine if an international consensus could be reached.

The president’s proposal

“We need to put this item onto the agenda for discussion,” former Colombian vice president and former president of the Organization of American States Cesar Gaviria told CNN Mexico.  He is a member of the World Drug Law Congress who also includes as members Ernest Zedillo, former president of Mexico; Fernando Henrique Cardozo, former president of Brazil; and the writer Carlos Fuentes among others.

“Prohibition in the USA has created devastating consequences in terms of violence and corruption in Latin America”, said Gaviria. “The USA has recognized that the war on drugs has not worked. You can see that in the change of the language from calling it a “war” and putting emphasis on the word “consumption”, said Gaviria. According to the former president the debate must challenge the accepted conventional wisdom that “it is not possible to live in a world without drugs” and that prohibition has not worked for decades.

Guatemala is facing a “long and complicated” process, Dejuan Mihailovic, Professor of Social Studies and International Relations at Monterrech Tech told CNN Mexico, “Leaders do not normally not mention this subject. For the first time we have a leader in power who realizes that current strategies are not the best”, said Mihailovic.

If  Guatemala were to reach a multilateral regional agreements, “The United States would have to question if their current strategy is the correct one and change it”, said Mihailovic,  stressing the need to involve all affected parties.



Date: 6 March 2012

Translated from: http://mexico.cnn.com/mundo/2012/03/06/biden-visita-honduras-en-medio-del-debate-sobre-despenalizar-las-drogas

Suggested reading  The Rights of the People and more on the War on Drugs


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(2) Readers Comments

  1. An appeal to all Prohibitionists:

    Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high – no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put anti-narcotic police on every single street corner, we also know that at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in dangerous narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our children’s, and grandchildren’s, future.

    We simply cannot continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of practically every free nation on this planet. Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results.

    Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies? Maybe you’re a police officer, a prison guard or a local/national politician. Possibly you’re scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks?

    Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem!

    Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!

  2. Es importante analizar con calma este tema y me alegra que sea discutido en Cartagena.

    Por otro lado es necesario realizar estudios para determinar si nuestra población está preparada para este cambio.

    Desde mi perspectiva es mejor la legalizaión que el comercio clandestino, al menos pagarían impuestos!

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