Drug War

Latin America Needs Free Trade & Drug Legalization

The WSJ's Mary Anastasia O'Grady on promoting progress in a troubled region.

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In the 1990s, it seemed as if individual rights, deregulation, free trade, and sound currency were taking hold in Latin America, a region finally on the rise after decades of coups, repression, and violence.

But in the 21st century, left-wing strongmen have made a comeback: Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Ecuador's Rafael Correa. Other countries in the region are headed in the wrong direction. Authoritarianism has been on the rise in Argentina ever since the economy collapsed (yet again) in 2002. Mexico's violent drug war is escalating. In Cuba, the transfer of power from one Castro brother to the other hasn't helped the economy or stopped human rights abuses.

What went wrong?

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down with Mary Anastasia O'Grady, a member of the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board and a Journal columnist specializing in Latin America, to talk about the outlook for the region—and how free trade and drug legalization would go a long way to solving Latin America's problems.

Approximately 6 minutes.

Produced and shot by Jim Epstein and Adam Jensen. Edited by Epstein and Joshua Swain.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

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  1. She looks a lot hotter in the drawing of her on Wall Street Journal’s website. Just sayin’.

    http://online.wsj.com/public/p…..ntary.html

    1. No; no she doesn’t.

      1. You’re sure one finicky sumbitch. I’d do her. And make you watch.

        1. Maybe he just prefers cartoons to live action.

          1. Strike that, reverse it.

    2. Re: Jen,

      She looks a lot hotter in the drawing[…]

      Eww.

      You know, stay away from my copy of the WSJ, I don’t want you to leave your stains on it…

      1. I didn’t touch your newspaper. You might want to check with Tony; he’s probably trying to fuck Thomas Frank’s picture again.

    3. She’s plenty hot.

    4. As usual, the first order of business in any H&R thread which [mentions|alludes to|suggests the existence of] a young woman is to discuss how sexable she is.

      1. Listen, we know you’re jealous. I’m sure most of us here would be perfectly happy to have you on the other side of a glory hole.

  2. legalizing pot in the us would remove ~60% of drug cartel profits fm what ive read. i dont agree w legalizing narcotics like coke. free trade in latin america is an illusion designed to exploit labour esp kids, inmates, illiterates, & woman. why no mention of us gun sales fueling cartel violence?

    1. why no mention of us gun sales fueling cartel violence?

      1) It doesn’t.
      2) Fuck off, authoritarian scumdick.

    2. why no mention of us gun sales fueling cartel violence?

      Maybe because it’s bullshit? God, you’re a fucking moron. You’re too stupid even to play with.

      1. why not try to answer using facts, or informed analysis, rather than ad hom profanity? >again, why no mention of us gun sales which fuel drug cartel violence?
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        “One of the reasons that Houston is the number one source, you can go to a different gun store for a month and never hit the same gun store,” said J. Dewey Webb, special agent in charge of the Houston field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “You can buy [a 9mm handgun] down along the border, but if you come to Houston, you can probably buy it cheaper because there’s more dealers, there’s more competition.”

        Drug cartels have aggressively turned to the United States because Mexico severely restricts gun ownership. Following gunrunning paths that have been in place for 50 years, firearms cross the border and end up in the hands of criminals as well as ordinary citizens seeking protection.

        “This is not a new phenomenon,” Webb said. http://immigrationclearinghous…..-violence/
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        As an unprecedented number of American guns flows to the murderous drug cartels across the border, the identities of U.S. dealers that sell guns seized at Mexican crime scenes remain confidential under a law passed by Congress in 2003.

        A year-long investigation by The Washington Post has cracked that secrecy and uncovered the names of the top 12 U.S. dealers of guns traced to Mexico in the past two years.

        Eight of the top 12 dealers are in Texas, three are in Arizona, and one is in California. In Texas, two of the four Houston area Carter’s Country stores are on the list, along with four gun retailers in the Rio Grande Valley at the southern tip of the state. There are 3,800 gun retailers in Texas, 300 in Houston alone.
        http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..2076/posts
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        denial is not a solution.

        1. No, scumdick. Fuck off.

          1. Dude, it linked to Immigration Clearinghouse and FreeRepublic in the same post. Clearly a spoof.

          2. brillant repost.

            1. And yet you still haven’t fucked off, you autofelching mouthbreather. Why?

              1. yea i can see where the ATF houston field agent in charge would make-it-all-up, wholecloth, for publication…

                1. How about the recent news that the Phoenix office of the ATF was “walking” ARs and AKs across the border to beef up the numbers? Or that it appears on of those “walk-overs” was recently used to murder a border patrol officer?

                2. Yeah, cops rarely make stories. Especially those who are part of an organization that seeks to regulate three things that are not within the purview of government control.

                  1. actually, it’s 4. it’s now the BATFE. not the BATF.

                3. you are missing the facts. the ATF is only tracing certain guns. iow, the ones with cyrillic stamps etc. don’t even GET traced, because they know they are not of US origin. so, the claimed %age of guns that comes from the US is not the %age of mexican guns overall, only the %age of guns that we successfully traced. considering our record keeping vs. say dipshitistan, do the math.

                  next time, read for content.

                  1. Pretty much what dunphy said, especially as much of the cartel’s hardware is full auto capable. I can’t see Collectors’ Firearms or Carter’s Country selling those things without the accompanying Class III paperwork. (Though Collectors’ on Fondren does have them—really great gun store to visit, if you’re ever in Houston.)

                    This shit is falling off the back of Mexican Army trucks, not being bought at Walmarts in the Valley. Idiot.

        2. Re: OhioOrrin,

          Drug cartels have aggressively turned to the United States because Mexico severely restricts gun ownership. Following gunrunning paths that have been in place for 50 years, firearms cross the border and end up in the hands of criminals as well as ordinary citizens seeking protection.

          You should read your own post more carefully before submitting. The fact that people from Mexico have been buying firearms in the US for YEARS is well known. What is a LIE is that the purchases fueled the violence, that is an imbecilic canard invented by anti-gun journalists (better known as “professional liars”)

          Making up shit is definitively NOT a solution, OO.

          1. tell ur fantasy to the ATF who state otherwise.

            1. Re: OhioOrrin,

              [T]ell [yo]ur fantasy to the ATF who state (sic) otherwise.

              No, you coward – YOU tell me how the mere purchase of firearms FUELS the violence in Mexico. There are 100 times more weapons in the US – WHERE is the “drug cartel violence” in the US, IF firearms alone fuel it?

              If you cannot write coherent SENTENCES, then admit it and write more coherently, or go play with youself and leave the adult conversation to us, the adults.

              1. Come on, NM, hasn’t it been decided that all actions of Mexican drug cartels are the cause of the Federal government?

                Remember, being a scum bag doesn’t make you a murderer, US drug laws do.

              2. Re: OhioOrrin,

                Oh, and just to show how you don’t use your head: Colombia had (and still has to some extent) a big problem with violence stemming from the drug trade. Were the local Colombian guerrillas also buying guns from shops in Pearl, or Sugarland, Texas?

                I didn’t think so. The violence is the direct RESULT of drug prohibition, not because of the easy access to guns. Gun cartels that make millions of dollars could perfectly open their own gun factories if they wanted to – any idiot with a lathe and a few steel billets can make an AK-47.

                Idiot.

                1. Drug cartels, not “gun” cartels. Sorry.

              3. whatever gramps…

            2. What the ATF states is that 90% of the guns that the Mexican government has asked them to trace come from the U.S. However, the federales only request traces on about 8% of the guns. And please tell me where I can get the Claymores, grenades and machine guns that the cartels use in most of the violence? It seems I can’t find any of it for sale at gun shops, or even gun shows, in the U.S. Thank you for playing, come again.

              1. correct. 90% OF 8%. that is what this ‘tard is missing.

              2. meaning the other 92% just couldnt have come fm us sales…

            3. Fuck the ATF.

              Murderers, just like the gangs. Because they are one.

          2. another rightwing emotional reaction to common stimuli per the u of london medical study.

        3. So 8 of the top dealers are in Texas. This is out of…3800 by your data. That’s 0.21%. Even if this was a problem, as you assert, is it a reasonable solution to go after 3800 dealers?
          How many “bad egg” dealers are there?

          Oh, and just in case you missed it, like a year ago, the vast majority of firearms confiscated in Mexico do not originate nor pass through the US.

          You know what? Forget it. You’re not going to listen to reason, you’re going to blind your own eyes to facts…just forget it.

          1. not my estimate, ATF data.

        4. “You can buy [a 9mm handgun] down along the border, but if you come to Houston, you can probably buy it cheaper because there’s more dealers, there’s more competition.”

          Mexican drug cartels are always looking for a deal.

    3. Re: OhioOrrin,

      [F]ree trade in [sic] [L]atin [A]merica is an illusion designed to exploit labour esp kids, inmates, illiterates, & woman.

      So what Latin American women, children and the illiterate need is to NOT have free trade IN Latin America? So, where would anyone buy their tortillas and fritos? Or rice, or pork?

      [W]hy no mention of [US] gun sales fueling cartel violence?

      Probably because it’s a lie?

      1. the point is there is no free trade, only trade which exploits labour which predatory capitalists propagandize as “free”.

        1. Re: OhioOrrin,

          [T]he point is there is no free trade, only trade which exploits labour which predatory capitalists propagandize as “free”.

          MY point is that you said there is no free trade IN Latin America. That would mean NOT ONE PERSON freely trades IN Latin America: No mercaditos, no tortillerias, no corner stores, no maiz con chile, no nothing. Care to clarify, or are you just going to sling lefty talking points like chimps sling shit?

        2. You are right in one sense OO.

          A true free-trade pact would be about 1-page long. Ours are always 1,000’s of pages long and actually lock in a lot of tariffs, subsidies, and special favors for various industries. Plus there is a lot of money that goes from the US govt. to the Mexican govt. to fund all kinds of nasty things. At least the amounts that are not skimmed off the top.

          But, properly understood, this is not actually free trade. It is the result of statist, progressive, B.S. policies put in place by economic ignoramuses.

          1. True, but even the deals are better than rampant protectionism.

        3. If only we could have selfless, morally untarnished communists to stop expoiting the poor labor force!

          1. And then they would not have access to all those US-made AK-47’s either!

        4. labor = value, labor = value

          barf…

    4. Cocaine comes from a plant, just like cannabis. Either can be used responsibly, or abused.

  3. The closer you get to the equator, the more prone to strongman rule, it appears.

    1. I wasn’t aware that continental drift had anything to do with what is happening in Washington.

      1. When the wife and I were younger, our favorite dance was the continental drift. It was kind of like a six-person square dance, but with jazz music.

        1. Do you just stand there for millions of years as the Earth slowly moves you apart, then together again?

          1. No, that’s just how they fucked.

            1. Tantric drift?

              1. “Hey, baby… how about you and I get seismic for the next geologic eon?”

                1. One seisgasm per billion years.

                  1. One trillion excades ago, in an ancient, faraway netherverse, lived an ancient alien civilization devoted to making steel beasts with wheels of fire and engines like pulsing devil hearts. What were these hell-contraptions? …They were CARS!

                2. We have no desire to hear about your encounters with colossally fat women.

                  1. You’re just at a loss on how to join into the tantric drift discussion.

                    1. Not surprising, since he has no interest in the chick in the video.

      2. Who is the strongman in Washington again?

    2. That’s because it was a challenge to move north of the equator up into the Nordic (Europe was populated from Nordic areas proved by genetics; later migration came from Morocco). Nature selected for smarts and practical cooperation. Sitting on your ass with fishing pole didn’t improve the breed.

  4. “why no mention of us gun sales fueling cartel violence?”

    JHC, from what source of revenue are the cartels purchasing the guns? why no mention of us t-shirt sales fueling cartel violence? A lot of those carted members wear t-shirts.

    1. when t-shirts kill like guns we can have that discussion as well.

      1. So are you saying that if the sale of U.S. guns to cartel members could be eliminated then cartel violence would reduce? So that would require the cartels to be absolutely clueless how to find another source of guns. Being so clueless, how have the cartels lasted so long?
        Or you may be on to something, I guess if you mean the guns that the U.S. military gave to the mexican army that somehow ended up in the hands of the cartels, I’m in agreement with you there. we should not give any guns to the mexican military.

      2. Why no mention that one of the most violent cartels, the ZETAS, are all former Mexican Special Forces that defected, along with their government issued weapons, to the cartels decades ago. Or that a large portion of the Mexican Military and Police are on the payroll of said cartels? The U.S. should cease all weapons sales to Mexico, especially to the government.

      3. The Mexican government is desperate to blame anything but themselves and their U.S policy sucking go-along on the violence, one convenient scapegoat is blaming American “gun culture” This also happens to fit conveniently with the anti gun zealots in the U.S media and with American federal agents who hate private gun ownership, so they all work together on an ad hoc basis to create the impression that U.S private gun sales are fueling the violence. But, as the numbers posted above about gun percentages show, amongst other things, the idea that U.S guns fuel the violence is total horseshit. These cartels have billions to play with and most of what they do involves a vast black market, getting thousands of illegal guns from the Mexican military, the corrupt police agencies, and from outside sources is no problem for them.
        Buying most of their guns from legal U.S vendors would be a ridiculously inefficient way to go about it if anything. What a joke the idea.

  5. Latin America Needs Free Trade & Drug Legalization

    So does America, for that matter…

    1. Hey, Latin America. After you get that free trade and drug legalization, can you smuggle some of it over here through your tunnels?

  6. Oh the whole, interesting.

    But you should let her speak Nick. You interrupted her a couple of times.

  7. Evo Morales rose to popularity as a cocalero fighting the US coca eradication & all the violence & envirnomental damage that went along with it. One could argue that he might not had as much success with the socialist stuff were it not for a very real bad guy figure to play it against.

    You don’t even have to be pro-legalization to get that it’s a bad idea to fuck other countries’ shit up.

  8. Speaking of drugs, enjoy some Phil Anselmo.

    1. UNSCARRED across the belly is teh coolest tat I’ve ever seen.

      1. Down fucking sucks.
        So does damageplan and whatever shit-brained schemes the rest of Pantera decided to do after Dime was murdered.

      2. Down fucking sucks.
        So does damageplan and whatever shit-brained schemes the rest of Pantera decided to do after Dime was murdered.

  9. I would rather have free drugs and trade legalization.

  10. “Mary Anastasia O’Grady, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board and a Journal columnist specializing in Latin America […] talk[s] about the outlook for the region – and how free trade and drug legalization would go a long way to solving Latin America’s problems.”

    Let’s not beat around the bush: There will be no drug legalization until Washington says otherwise.

    “Poor Mexico: So far from God, so close to the United States.” – President Porfirio Diaz.

    1. This used to be true, but America just isn’t that powerful relative to the other countries anymore.

      1. Compared to China and India, that may be true.

        Compared to the rest of North and South America, you’re still the 800 lb gorilla.

        1. I disagree. Many SA countries-particularly Brazil-are really power houses. Last I heard Brazil started experimenting with decrim.

  11. Please, let’s use the correct term – drug re-legalization. When people scratch their heads and look confused, explain to them how and when pot was made illegal. Then show them Reefer Madness.

  12. I can’t believe I didn’t post this earler. Matando Gueros

  13. Hey Old Mexican, I’ve been wondering about guns in Mexico. I know guns are practically illegal there, and that the cartels are incredibly well-armed. But how hard is it for an ordinary citizen to arm himself?

    1. Not difficult at all. Unless he wants to do it legally. Then he better be rich or well connected. Preferably both.

    2. Re: Warty,

      Ordinary people in Mexico simply buy guns in the black market… Just like people in Baltimore or DC do.

  14. I don’t understand the subtitulos.

  15. Buying guns and killing your rivals makes you a scumbug, yes. But where does the incentive come from? It comes from prohibition, plain and simple. In the same way that lobbying for protectionism and getting it is worthy of scorn, the real problem lies is the legislature having the power to grant protectionism.

    Same with drug violence. Yes, the perpetrators are scum but they are responding to incentives that prohibition creates.

  16. Mister, we could use a man like Pablo Escobar again…..Sorry, I just finished watching All In The Family.

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  20. If you support prohibition then you’re either a black market profiteer, a terrorist, a corrupt politician, a sadomoralist, a wing-nut socialist, fake-conservative or a prohibitionist excrementalist.

    If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history, raising gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Murder, Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to prevent the sick and dying from obtaining safe and effective medication.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped escalate the number of people on welfare who can’t find employment due to their felony status.

    If you support prohibition you’re responsible for the horrific racial disparities which have breed generations of incarcerated and disenfranchised Afro Americans.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    If you support prohibition you’re promoting a policy which kills our children, endangers our troops, counteracts our foreign policy and reduces much of the developing world to anarchy.

    If you support prohibition then you are guilty of turning the federal, state and local governments into a gargantuan organized crime syndicate, interested only in protecting it’s own corrupt interests. — The very acts for which we initially created governments to protect us from, have become institutionalized. Thanks to prohibition, government now provides ‘services’ at the barrel of a gun.

    Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them; the concept of a “Drug-Free Society” is a neurotic fantasy and Prohibition’s ills are a product of this psychotic delusion.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, corrupt or criminally insane.

    If you support prohibition then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, foreclosed homes, and the complete loss of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

  21. What Malcom said! Plus, the drug war destroys our common law rights. Once the gov’t claims jurisdiction over our bloodstreams, liberty is dead.

  22. Chavez… Morales… Ortega… Correa… Castro… What went wrong?

    It’s pretty obvious – settled by Spain and/or Portugal.

    There’s no reason to pretend that the recent WOD has anything to do with the fucked up history of most of central and south America.

    ?Viva la revolution!

  23. It’s amazing how the same people who routinely chant, “No blood for oil”, are blind to the effects of their own recreational drug use.

    If you use drugs, you are fueling the drug war south of the border and are indirectly responsible for the brutal deaths of thousands of innocent people, the destabilization of foreign governments and just about everything that you claim that the US is guilty of in securing a supply of foreign oil. Hypocrites!

    NO BLOOD FOR DRUGS!!

  24. Just like drugs seeking out the easiest entry so would guns. The US bans guns then cartels get them from Russia via Cuba.

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  31. I didn’t think so. The violence could possibly be the instant carry out result of medicine prohibition, not because within of the effortless entry to guns. Gun cartels that make millions of bucks could completely available their confidential gun factories if they preferred to – any idiot getting a lathe as well as numerous metal billets could make an AK-47.

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