Drug War is Essential for Mexico's Survival
"All of us must raise our
voices and shout 'No more blood!' … drug control is doomed - particularly if we
continue down our current path of obeying the dictates of the United States,
which has its own agenda and acts in its own interests. … Beyond the interests
and opinions of individuals, groups, economic considerations or foreign policy:
we must embark on the project of liberalizing drugs."
the face of Calderon's reluctance to revise his avowedlypoorly
made decisions about how to confront organized crime and his failure to achieve
the expected results, we should insist on the lawful application of two
political values as we pursue the urgent and indispensable need for nationwide drug control.
One: respect for and commitment to universally recognized human values; and two:
the invocation of reasons of state as a legitimate tool for averting the
national shipwreck we are currently headed toward.
Note: In Spanish, the phrase "reasons of state
or la razón de Estado" refers to measures a leader can take in
exceptional circumstances, which presumably in this context, means
supra-constitutional or supra-legal measures].
have reached the limit - the very borders of reason and tolerance. Calderon and
his government are finished and the country has been placed at historically
unprecedented risk. We can no longer remain silent, inert and frightened. The
end of history, according to Frances Fukuyama, would
mean the end of war and bloody revolution, and finally contentment. This is
unthinkable. But what is possible is for all of us to raise our voices and
shout, "No more blood!" Although the effect would be symbolic, it
would also be psychologically inspirational. The phrase may take a thousand
forms, but the attitude would hasten the end of Calderon and serve as a stern
warning to whoever becomes our next president.
one is proposing an end to the pursuit of criminals. What's required is a less
apocalyptic, irrational, insensitive and irresponsible spirit, and at the same
time, more sophisticated methods of combating crime, so that this scourge can be
gradually brought under control. Where are the seizures of illicit funds and transported
weapons, and why have we submitted to the intelligence services of the United
States? How can one explain our triumphalism?
from the United States, in the vast universe of world opinion, only one voice
has been campaigning exclusively for a military struggle against drugs. In this
off-key concert rings only the voice of Mexico, in the person of the president.
His spokesmen talk of comprehensive action but fail to offer details - and it's
clear that he isn't talking about reducing impunity; nor boosting education or
prevention; nor rehabilitation for addicts, nor promoting alternative crops; nor
highlighting the battle against poverty, extending urban services for young
people or more pursuing more effective international cooperation.
with such stubbornness, what remains is for us to lift our gaze to the
international community in search of kindred spirits who share our tragedy. In
doing so, we find that many groups and countries have emphatically, depending
on their circumstances, decided that to pursue the multifaceted scourge of
drugs in a strictly militarized manner is infeasible. Here there is total consensus.
The exception is the United States, to whom our foreign service officers should
report, and the public be informed, about how widespread this scourge has become,
and how the consumption of alkaloids, primarily marijuana, has invaded our families.
reason for the next government to invoke reasons of state, which refer to measures
that a leader can impose in exceptional circumstances, is the preservation and
enhancement of the health and strength of the nation. This is a value that
rises above that of the individual or collective rights and even political and
followed by other countries like Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Afghanistan
and Turkey, has the most legitimate reason for siding with the universal
consensus that drug control is doomed - particularly if we continue down our current
path of obeying the dictates of the United States, which has its own agenda and
acts in its own interests. We must look toward controlling drugs, not the
impossible job of making them extinct. Based on science we have to leave behind
concepts of morality and dogmatism and discern, within the law, which drugs may
be available under what kind of controls, how soon they should be made
available and how to educate the public. This would be a step toward effective
dates of interest: 1) In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) produced
reports favorable toward such measures, but U.S. influence within the
organization prevented them from being published. 2) A U.N. report from 1988
acknowledged that the battle against drugs was drifting from general legal
principles. 3) In October 1993, Mexico brought before the U.N. General Assembly
a proposal to revise the universal strategy on the subject, which was adopted
by acclamation: General
Assembly Resolution 48/112 on December 20th of the year. The following
governments abstained. 4) Ten years ago, Portugal became the first Western
nation to pass full decriminalization. The law (approved in October, 2000)
abolished criminal penalties for all drugs - not only marijuana, but also
"hard drugs" like heroine and cocaine. This applies to personal
consumption only. Drug trafficking remains a criminal offense. Today we have a
decade of empirical evidence about what actually happens when criminal
sanctions against the possession of drugs are removed: consumption drops, as do
the pathology of drugs and related crime. 5) On January 25th, 2010, an ad hoc
commission made up of former Latin American presidents Ernesto Zedillo, Cesar
Gaviria and Fernando Cardoso, among others, launched a debate by proposing
fundamental solutions based on scientific evidence to problems associated with
drug consumption. They concluded that the drug war strategy had failed.
behooves Mexico, given the extreme nature of our current circumstances, to
summon the solidarity and understanding of the international community and
invoke reasons of state. Beyond the interests and opinions of individuals,
groups, economic considerations or foreign policy, we must embark on the
project of liberalizing drugs, not immediately, but by following a plan that
includes solid answers to these questions, and probably many more: what drugs should be permitted, how
should they be ranked, when should we implement controls, how should we
control them, with what amount of social participation, and what institutions
should be responsible? We cannot continue like this!
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