Aug 4, 2010

Legalization: Drugs Are No Longer Taboo- El Universal - Editorial

Las drogas ya no son tab�- El Universal - Editorial

Yesterday, President Calderón of Mexico declared that debate over drug legalization ought to occur. Here is a translation of an editorial in today's El Universal about this change of position. Above is the link to the original in Spanish.

Drugs No Longer Are Taboo

Just a year ago the federal government and the PAN refused even to discuss the issue. PAN governments argued that legalizing any drug was "endangering" the health and safety "Mexican families," as if education, dose variation and preventive measures don’t exist. Yesterday, President Calderon took charge of dismantling the dogma. He declared, "It's a core debate that ought to occur."

Something happened that made the federal government change its rigid posture of the previous four years. Did it lose popular support? Whatever the reason, the willingness to review the strategy is to be celebrated. It demonstrates a democratic direction.

Now it's time to set the terms of debate.

Proponents and opponents of decriminalization of drug use have to recognize, first, that the issue is a Pandora's box. There are many factors to consider before accepting or ruling out this alternative. There are various nuances and implications in public health, social life, the economy and international cooperation, among other areas.

Geographical circumstance, for example, defines us. Being neighbors with the largest consumer of drugs in the world imposes on Mexico an insurmountable condition for success in combating the underworld:  joint actions. A wide decriminalization in Mexico, without going hand in hand with the United States, would lead the country to being a bridge for drug traffic not only from Latin America but also from other continents. There is no need to wait for a federal decision to the north of the Rio Grande. Some states in the American Union have already legalized drugs. It is possible to work with them.

An anti-narcotics policy that works also requires cooperation from Colombia, the largest supplier of the Mexican cartels. Joint decriminalization in these three countries would be the only way to make the legalization of drugs effective.

The important thing is that the first step has already been taken: the use of reason and diverse arguments to define a policy of the State. For several years, El Universal has asked for this opening and the search for alternatives. We celebrate that the federal executive may do so at last. Now efforts have to be made to stay on the track that has been set.

President Calderon admitted yesterday that his government has been unable to explain to society the need to combat organized crime. The debate that occupies us today can be the beginning of that communication which has been lost between authorities and society. Beginning here it is possible to foster the most useful union of all against the drug traffickers.

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