With the latest official count indicating that 28,000 people have died in prohibition-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on the drug cartels in 2006, Calderon says he is open to debating the merits of legalization. "It's a fundamental debate in which I think, first of all, you must allow a democratic plurality [of opinions]," he said during a meeting yesterday with civic and business leaders. "You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides."
One of Calderon's predecessors, Ernesto Zedillo, has been conspicuously critical of the war on drugs. But until now Calderon has always said he is firmly opposed to legalization, although he did sign legislation that eliminated criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use. A few hours after Tuesday's meeting, Calderon's office issued a statement that emphasized he is still "against the legalization of drugs." At least it's in his vocabulary.
[Thanks to Tom Angell for the tip.]