[El Espectador, Colombia]

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Summit of the Americas Could Mark Start of ‘Soft’ Drug War (El Espectador, Colombia)


“Gaining strength among conference attendees is the idea of dropping the shooting war and replacing it with preventive war (strong on publicity and education). But during the process of restructuring our priorities with the goal of decriminalizing consumption, we must never lower our guard.”


By Cristina de la Torre



Translated By Diego Andres Narvaez Romero


April 9, 2012


Colombia - El Espectador - Original Article (Spanish)

Rodriguez Barrero 'El Cubano', thought to be a member of a number of Cuban and Latin American criminal groups, after his arrest on April 6 for drug and weapons possession and drug trafficking. According to the Mexico Attorney General's Office, Barrero has also been charged with the murder and dismemberment of four minors.


TELESUR NEWS VIDEO [STATE-RUN]: Mexico extradites drug lord Jesus Zambada to the United States, April 3, 00:00:33RealVideo

Seventy percent of people in Colombia and the United States disapprove of the war on drugs, and the same percentages reject drug legalization.


So it is clear that armed prohibition is a failure, but at the same time, people are alarmed at the prospect of open sales of drugs in supermarkets. For the first time in 40 years, however, within the context of this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, a third way will be openly discussed. Gaining strength among conference attendees is the idea of dropping the shooting war and replacing it with preventive war (strong on publicity and education). But during the process of restructuring our priorities with the goal of decriminalizing consumption, we must never lower our guard.


When it comes to the sinister drug mafias, we will have to reverse the focus of our investments: As we reduce military spending in this war, the savings will have to be invested in preventive health, as has been done in the Netherlands and Portugal. A responsible decriminalization will be controlled, regulated and periodically evaluated: this war by other means would be lethal to the narco-traffickers, arms dealers and bankers who have grown fat on the proceeds of this multi-billion-dollar business.


It is known, although rarely disclosed, that financial groups and international banks use tax havens to launder the money into legal investments, almost always on stock markets. According to the United Nations and International Monetary Fund, the amount of drug money laundered approaches $400 billion per year. If not for the protection that these Ali Baba Caves provide major drug traffickers, they would not be able to enjoy their fortunes as they please.


The war is a business like any other. In the basic logic of supply and demand, the more drugs that are seized, the higher the price on the market. Wholesale distributors know: they price their drug inventories so as to regulate the market and keep prices high. Contributing to this are prosecutions, which boosts the profitability of the business, and despite the sermonizing, do nothing to reduce the number of consumers.


In the 31 years since the war on drugs began, consumption has spread from 44 countries to 130. The problem isn’t only the monumental cost of armed repression, the bulk of which occurs in producing countries, but the corruption and violence that drug trafficking brings. Colombia is quite familiar with these horrors: it has been mourning its dead for decades with losses in the tens of thousands, and now it has to deal with powerful mafias entrenched within every sphere of influence. Meanwhile, up to now, our governments have agreed that the war on drugs, like the international war on terrorism fought by the U.S., needed to be treated as a matter of “national defense.” In other words, if we relent, we are condemned for condoning narco-trafficking and terrorism.

Posted by Worldmeets.US



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A program of reducing demand through mass and intense education has never been tried, but preliminary results are encouraging. Similar programs illustrate this. According to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, “the dramatic reduction in tobacco consumption … shows that prevention and regulation are more effective than prohibition for changing attitudes and behavioral patterns.”


That was the approach taken by the United States after the publication of the Wickersham Report on alcohol prohibition, when gangsters and police corruption had plunged the country into crisis. What would be new is the possibility that at the summit, a war different from the one that has favored drug dealers and bankers for the past 40 years might be proposed.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US April 12, 3:46am]





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