Marijuana, cocaine and other illegal substances are still produced and invade the Americas and the world. Several former Latinos presidents call to change this situation.
The president of Guatemala on May 7, 2012 claimed in The Guardian, that there is a need in "finding new solutions to the South American nightmare caused by drugs. Otto Pérez Molina joined former heads of state and African politicians to ask questions on regulation of drugs, to end all old repressive methods that accumulate failures and strengthen the mafias. We are reprinting a 2010 articles with initiatives on this theme.
Lost the war against drugs.
The title of the excellent work of Jean-François Boyer, a journalist from Mexico, dates from 2001 but is still relevant. The war is lost forever and continues to claim lives.
In Mexico, following the instructions of its large northern neighbor, President Felipe Calderon has implemented an aggressive strategy in 2006. In exchange, the U.S. Congress voted aid, called Merida Initiative, $ 1.4 billion over 3 years to help the country fight against drugs.
The 40,000 soldiers started in pursuit of drug traffickers cannot help it. Certainly, over 70 tons of cocaine were seized between 2006 and 2009, but how many had crossed the border to flood the streets of Los Angeles and other major cities? More than 15,000 deaths were reported.
Breaking the taboo
The situation is not as disastrous security in other countries of the continent, but the issue of drugs is, in most cases, only in relation to policing. Faced with this failure, a movement was growing, led by several ex- presidents. Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico), César Gaviria (Colombia) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil) had been trying for months to make their voices heard through the Latin-American Initiative on Democracy and Drugs, a sort of pressure group which campaigns for, as indicated by their latest report released last summer, "a new paradigm."
It's time to break the taboo, write the three former heads of state in an article published by leading newspapers in Spanish. And open debate on the establishment of more humane and effective strategies to combat the drug problem.
Tobacco or alcohol
What are the solutions proposed after a year of work, field surveys and numerous interviews? Decriminalization or legalization? If decriminalization is a longstanding proposal, legalizing certain drugs is, in Latin America, the revolution. For the former heads of state, soft drugs (including marijuana) could become the equivalent of tobacco and alcohol.
The collected taxes would be used to fund centers for drug addicts. And the money that is not spent in the repression could also be invested in health. Their proposal is to treat addicts as patients, fight against organized crime and bring the drug legally.
Stay away from U.S.
The question is of course politically and diplomatically. Latin America is expected to be successful away from the United States, which are based solely on their anti-drug law enforcement. "We do not need the American umbrella to fight drugs," explained Fernando Henrique Cardoso even at a recent meeting.
Former Brazilian president is one of the most vocal about the bad influence, according to him, the United States in this area. Especially since 90% of the cocaine that transits Mexico is destined for this market, essential for the Mexican narcos.
In an article published in the Spanish daily El País, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa said: Mexico's experience confirms, it is impossible to defeat the drug trade with the help of police. On condition that there are buyers, there will be traffic and plantations. Decriminalization or legalization is the only remedy.
An idea, which had already echoed in The Economist in spring 2009. In its issue of March 7, in the British weekly headline "how to end the war against drugs." The answer is clear: "The legalization [of certain drugs] is the least worst." Everybody agrees on one point, the target set by the UN about ten years - to achieve a world without drugs is unachievable. "The only possible goal is to achieve reduction of the damage caused by these drugs on individuals and societies”.