While the United States frames their drug legalization debates around the still-news-hooky premature demise and possible overdose of Whitney Houston, Central Americans still have that whole cartel thing and that particularly-literal war aspect to their drug problems.
Sometime next month, newly-elected Guatemalan President Otto Perez plans to propose legalization of drugs, including the decriminalization of drug transportation, to other Central American leaders.
It took Perez just one month in office to shift to calling for drug legalization. The retired general ran for the presidency on a platform of hard-line action against drug smuggling, but it seems like the sheer force of the drug trade has changed his mind; 95 percent of all cocaine sales to the United States go through Mexico, the most prominent and bloody face of the drug war, but 60 percent of them begin in central America.
The cartels, including the fearsome Zetas, are really not just in Mexico anymore. And like former Mexican presidents Vincente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo, Perez can clearly see that the policies which lead Mexico and Central America towards this literal drug war are not working and are not helping anyone. So why not legalize?
Perez recently met up with El Salvador's president, Mauricio Funes, who at least was willing to talk legalization. According to the Associated Press:
After returning to El Salvador, Funes said he personally doesn’t support legalization because it would “create a moral problem,” though he supports Perez’s right to bring up the issue for consideration.
“Imagine what it would mean,” Funes said. “Producing drugs would no longer be a crime, trafficking drugs would no longer be a crime and consuming drugs would no longer be a crime, so we would be converting the region in a paradise for drug consumption. I personally don’t agree with it and I told President Otto Perez so.
Hell, being open to discussing legalization means that Funes is doing better than most U.S. politicians. But no matter how fast things move towards legalization, it's always going to be too slow for the people caught in the crossfire of this God damn unnecessary war.
Reason.tv on the drug war in Guatemala