Presidents of Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico Urge U.N. to Consider Changing the Drug War

Otto Perez Molina, of Guatemala, along with Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Philipe Calderon of Mexico yesterday spoke at the U.N. and urged serious discussion of drug policy. This was not based on libertarian pleas for freedom, but more a realistic, depressing realization, particularly on the part of the departing President Calderon, that unless people stop having a taste for drugs, something else has to happen. The new-to-office Molina also is preparing to go hard against the cartels who have moved from Mexico into his backyard, even as he plead to the General Assembly that it's time to seriously change the drug war's tactics.

According to Fox News:

Calderón's speech characterized organized crime as a principal cause of death and "one of the greatest threats to democracy in the 21st century."

He urged drug-consuming nations to "evaluate with all sincerity, and honesty, if they have the will to reduce the consumption of drugs in a substantive manner."

"If this consumption cannot be reduced, it is urgent that decisive actions be taken," Calderón said.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also called for a debate looking at alternatives to the traditional "war on drugs," saying the discussion "must be frank, and without a doubt, global."

"It is our duty to determine — on objective scientific bases — if we are doing the best we can or if there are better options to combat the scourge," Santos said.

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina in the past has called for legalization of drugs as one possible alternative, but did not go that far in his U.N. address.

Instead, Pérez Molina said his government "would like to establish an international group of countries that are well disposed to reforming global policies on drugs" and would consider "new creative and innovative alternatives."

On the other hand, Perez Molina told the AP on Tuesday, with no dancing around the issue, that he was in favor of legalization, even of cocaine and heroin (regulated, of course).

Of course, back in April, during the Summit of the Americans, when several of these same leaders pushed at Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to seriously discus ending the war on drugs, the result was less than progressive The only sign that came from non-Latin American leaders was the extremely grudging admittance from Obama that this issue "worth discussing." But the answer was, of course, still no.

The Organization of American States is preparing a report on drug legalization, but it's for next year. On the off-chance that things move in the right direction on drug legalization, we can always depend on things to move at the excruciating pace of bureaucracies who have no sense of how bad the drug war is for people caught in its middle.

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  • LTC(ret) John||

    UN? Why don't they just change it themselves? If they mean it, and are not just looking for political cover that is...

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Guatemalan prez, and others, also argue that unless multiple countries legalize, it won't kill the trade.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    But if several of them are all arguing for this at once...

  • T||

    True, but if you legalize in your country, you bring it above board and hopefully cut down on the violence. The cartels will (eventually) just sue each other instead.

    You would, in effect, outsource the violence to countries where it's still illegal. Like America. But given that we caused most of this problem in the first place, I can't really blame the boys down south for wanting to export a little bit of the fun back to us.

  • nicole||

    You would, in effect, outsource the violence to countries where it's still illegal.

    This seems like the exact right and moral thing to do. The countries that illegalize are the ones at fault for the violence, and they should be the ones to suffer those consequences.

  • sarcasmic||

    The countries that illegalize are the ones at fault for the violence, and they should be the ones to suffer those consequences.

    I'm sure that our government would be more than happy to export some violence to the countries that legalize drugs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The countries that illegalize are the ones at fault for the violence, and they should be the ones to suffer those consequences.

    One of those consequences being the rise of the Kennedys.

  • sarcasmic||

    If multiple countries were to legalize, I bet Congress would declare war for the first time in seventy years.

  • deified||

    TRU dat, li'l homey

  • Rich||

    unless people stop having a taste for drugs, something else has to happen

    Simply increase the prison terms a bit more, and people will stop having a taste for drugs.

    /sarc

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Atack the taste - Spray paraquat? Have DEA sneak in and replace oregeno in for cannabis, powdered sugar for coke? Shoot more dogs and cuff more 12 year old girls?

  • deified||

    That paraquat shit was so evil. Fortunately, the next time they try it, I really think that people will rise up. /eternal optimist.

  • T||

    Summation: the drug war is failing because people want to get high. Since you can't stop people from wanting to get high, you're always going to lose this war.

    It's amazing how long you can play at being King Canute when you never bear the consequences for your folly.

  • ||

    They have no desire to stop people from wanting to get high; it's the process by which they satisfy that want that they think they can stomp down on.

  • sarcasmic||

    Only natural highs are allowed!

    Like the natural adrenaline high you get when you bust down someone's door, barge in, and shoot anything that moves before finding you've got the wrong house!

    Fuck yeah!

    Natural highs are awesome!

  • ||

    That, and x-treme mountain biking.

    But mostly what you said.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No, those highs are fueled by the Dew, brah!

  • ||

    I'm drinking one as we speak (er, type).

    THE DEW LOOMS LARGE.

  • ChrisO||

    Those countries could go ahead and legalize, if they wanted. They're under no obligation to assist our ridiculous fight against human nature.

    Heck, narco-tourism could turn Mexico's economy into a juggernaut overnight.

  • tarran||

    Actually, there are a bunch of treaties most (if not all) UN members have agreed to to cage and kill people who consume mind-altering products that scare Americans.

    Most of these countries want the development gravy to keep flowing so don't want to buck the U.N.

  • sarcasmic||

    jinx!

  • R C Dean||

    A legalized drug trade, aside from the reduction in violence, would move the biz from the black market to the taxable market. With rational tax policies, I wonder if there would even be a net loss?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "rational tax policies"

    sure

  • sarcasmic||

    I may be mistaken, but I believe that there are several international treaties a country would have to withdraw from before legalization.

  • ChrisO||

    If the money was better for those in power, the treaties would be gone overnight, or simply ignored. The UN is toothless.

    The problem is that for the Five Families (or whatever it is) that run Mexico, it's far more profitable to smuggle narcotics over the border at ridiculously inflated prices than it is to set up shop inside the country.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Maybe. Zurich(didn't they have "Needle Park?)and Amsterdam might provide some counter examples of the benefits of drug tourism (at least the Dutch seem to be having some second thoughts). But if Mexico or someplace wants to try it, they should just go ahead and do so - who the hell needs the UN or OAS to say "go ahead"?!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Er, assuming they tear up/withdraw form said treaties. Gah!

  • Tim||

    Legalize it, socialize it, watch it be destroyed.

  • ChrisO||

    The problems associated with Needle Park pale in comparison to having a low-grade civil war consume the entire northern sector of one's country.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I am only addressing the benefits of drug tourism - the benefits of not having a vast bureaucracy and law enforcement leviathan/prison industry are a whole new category!

  • np||

    For Amsterdam, all of the locals and city officials themselves were adamantly against the non-citizen restriction placed on them from politicians above.

  • shamalam||

    single convention on narcotics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....otic_Drugs

  • sarcasmic||

    we can always depend on things to move at the excruciating pace of bureaucracies who have no sense of how bad the drug war is for people caught in its middle.

    ftfy

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Yes you did.

  • Tim||

    What with racism off the table and homophobia following suit, the only acceptable prejudices left are against drug users.

  • T||

    And fat people. We can still hate on fatties until the sizeism movement gains a larger (hah!) toehold in the public consciousness.

    Of course, for the commentariat that might be self-loathing in either case.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Ironically, the WoD is an acceptable form of racism, i.e.

    Black, Latino, Asian drug user == criminal, prison

    White drug user == troubled soul, rehab

  • Tim||

    JUST A HAPPY COINCIDENCE.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Cracka drug addicts get to be on Intervention and are sent to cushy rehab.

    Brown people are on Cops.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Unless they are a methbilly, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Don't forget tobacco users. They're not even human.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    They, sir, are worse than Hitler!!11!1

  • ||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Good to know Clutch aren't a bunch of protectionist assholes.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The US is the 600 pound bear in the room when it comes to drug policy. This country was the one pushing for the international / UN treaties. If other countries are waiting for "international agreement," it's basically like saying they're waiting for US policy makers to get their heads out of their asses.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    That would seem an eternal wait.

  • R C Dean||

    Some of those state legalization referenda actually passing this year could make for an interesting dynamic if the OAS comes out in favor of some kind of legalization as well.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wonder what would happen if some of these Latin American countries legalized the drug trade.

    I imagine the first thing that would happen would be the withdrawal of all foreign aid from the US. This would likely be followed with tough talk about how our law enforcement will treat their legal drug traffickers as criminals, and maybe the possibility of military action. Meanwhile individual states would continue to legalize drugs, and it would be the federal government vs everyone else.

    Even then I doubt they'd cave. That would mean admitting fault, which is simply not an option.

  • ChrisO||

    I said it upthread, but the profits from the Drug War are far too great for your average caudillo south of the border to even consider legalization. Narco-tourism would benefit more people in Mexico, but not the right people.

  • sarcasmic||

    On the other hand, the people can only tolerate so much bloodshed before they lose confidence in their government.
    How many tens of thousands of people have been killed in Mexico over the last decade?
    It can only go on for so long.

  • Tim||

    Are you suggesting that the reaction could be fast and furios?

  • ChrisO||

    The "big man" culture is deeply ingrained in Mexico. I don't see that changing. Any revolution will mostly likely produce more of the same. People want in on the action, not to get rid of it all together.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if there's a revolution and the drug lords win?

  • ChrisO||

    They've already won. They basically control the government. No need for them to put on the presidential sash themselves, so long as they pull the strings.

  • np||

    In some countries it's already partially legal. Coca is legal in Peru, Bolivia, and a couple others I believe; likewise for ayahuasca in a few countries.

    In Uruguay it's not legalized per se but like Portugal it's supposed to be decriminalized across the board. (Trafficking/trading though is not), but they're proposing full MJ legalization now

  • Hyperion||

    All drugs are decriminalized in Brazil. You just have to be very careful that you don't get labeled as a trafficer:

    From Wikipedia:

    In 2002 and 2006 the country went through legislative changes, resulting in a partial decriminalization of possession for personal use. Prison sentences no longer applied and were replaced by educational measures and community services.[24] However, the 2006 law does not provide objective means to distinguish between users or traffickers. A disparity exists between the decriminalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs, punishable with a maximum prison sentences of 5 years for the sale of very minor quantities of drugs. Most of those incarcerated for drug trafficking are offenders caught selling small quantities of drugs, among them drug users who sell drugs to finance their drug habits.[25]

    In other words, no one in Brazil goes to prison for simple use. I have seen folks smoking on the streets at festivals and the cops standing right there. From what I understand, you stay out of trouble, you will not have a problem, but DO NOT get caught selling anything.

  • Hyperion||

    The guy in Uruguay is saying he is going to legalize pot. They will get a big increase in tourism from Argentina and Brazil when that happens. I think they did say though that sale will only be to Uruguay citizens. But how are you going to control people sharing with their relatives and friends from out of the country? Or anyone who will pay? You can't, and they know that. So increase in tourism is a sure thing.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    3 more foreign Presidents with more credibility than ours.

    4 mas anos!

  • wareagle||

    this is where govt proves its lack of business acumen: a product is being made for which their is a vibrant market, one that - literally - is willing to kill in order to be in the business. It's like the folly of Prohibition never happened.

  • Hyperion||

    It's like the folly of Prohibition never happened

    That's because the proglodytes can never admit that all of their stupid ideas are in reality, failures. Banning stuff is their all time favorite thing.

  • ||

    That these guys are fearful of countermanding the United Nations' diktats on the matter means, as someone said earlier, that they're in love with the blue-helmeted gravy train, and that means they're just asshole politicians carrying on the usual shit in the usual shitty manner. Who whould'a thunk it, eh?

    If the cunts at the UN aren't willing to alter their retarded policies, legalize unilaterally. What's the UN going to do? Invade?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Send in the Blue Helmeted rapists and child slavers!

  • OldMexican||

    Presidents of Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico Urge U.N. to Consider Changing the Drug War


    "What is this? What is this? A break in the line, you say? Why, you ungrateful children! You should know, the responsibility for this war rests on your shoulders! Buck up, boys, and keep a stiff upper lip! Stand fast against these rich criminals, it is only your job to stem their evil! We're just providing them with money but YOU are the ones who should be giving your blood! It's the least you can do."

  • Hyperion||

    Basically, the countries in South and Central America are the ones getting the crap end of this deal, even more than US citizens. Especially Mexico and Columbia. It is way past time that other countries start telling the US to piss off.

  • ||

    The federal government of the United States isn't the only entity in the universe opposed to legalization, you know. Not even close.

  • Hyperion||

    No, it's just that we are the only one that other countries are afraid to say 'piss off' to.

  • OldMexican||

    Otto Perez Molina, of Guatemala, along with Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Philipe Calderon of Mexico yesterday spoke at the U.N. and urged serious discussion of drug policy.


    What I don't understand is why would any of these assholes need to have permission from the UN to change their domestic drug policy. The constitution of Mexico does not allow foreign influence on our domestic affairs, yet here's Calderon asking the assembly to have a "discussion" on what amounts to our own domestic policy? Give me a break!

    Calderon, you coward, you can change the policy tomorrow by declaring the war over and letting people use whatever poison they want to kill themselves with. You can then concentrate your efforts on real criminals: kidnappers, extorsionists, murderers.

  • ||

    Cue rabid indignation and outrage from the internationalist dipshits at UN headquarters.

  • ||

    domestic drug policy? didn't mexico decriminalize possession of cocaine, pot, etc. in 2009?

  • Hyperion||

    What I don't understand is why would any of these assholes need to have permission from the UN to change their domestic drug policy

    As someone already stated, it is not the UN that they are concerned about. The UN is a joke. It's the good ol US of A that they are worried about. Those global bullies and their dollars and drones are the problem.

  • T||

    Yeah, nobody wants to get on our naughty list when we're handing out drone strikes like condoms at a Pride parade.

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