Feb 15, 2012

Drug Policy Debate: Wife of Mexican president and Secretary of Interior deem drug legalization useless

This article is one of several in the Mexican press on the International Forum on Drugs: An Assessment of a Century of Prohibition, held this week in Mexico City. More of the statement of Interior Secretary Alejandro Poiré was posted yesterday. Ms. Zavala sounds like a spokesperson for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agengy (DEA) or the Department of State´s Merida Initiative.

Excelsior: "Legalizing drugs in Mexico would not solve the problem of violence and addiction, said Margarita Zavala, national president of Infant and Family Development (DIF--the Mexican government's social service program for families and children) and the wife of President Felipe Calderon. Alejandro Poire, interior minister, and political scientist Alexander Hope agreed.

During the International Forum on Drugs: An Assessment of a Century of Prohibition, Zavala said that legalizing drugs would only reduce production costs, but not the profits of drug traffickers, who would continue their bloody fight to control the market. If legalized, "it would be much, much more profitable, and many more gangs would participate, with more criminals and the offenses that come with organized crime, such as extortion, kidnapping and trafficking in persons. That is, there would be an incentive for violence to conserve these market monopolies because the cost of production would be lower," she explained.

... Ms. Zavala also asserted that legalizing drugs would increase their consumption, and that would generate an increase in violence within families. She said that just as it has been shown that alcohol consumption aggravates situations of domestic violence, exacerbated drug use would produce an even more serious effect.

In contrast, the writer Hector Aguilar Camin and former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who never proposed decriminalizing when he was in power, announced themselves in favor of legalization. ... Cardoso, participating through a video projection, argued that legalizing marijuana would be much more effective in reducing the power and violence of the cartels "than the failed war on drugs ".

...The interior secretary, Alejandro Poire, in response to Cardoso, who had argued that to reduce drug use it was essential to inform the public of its harmful effects, said that the Mexican government has allocated six billion 600 million pesos for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction. Poire also retorted that "the problem of organized crime goes far beyond just the legalization of a product and is, as shown here, an issue that goes beyond even just attention to drug trafficking."

Regarding the federal government's strategy against drug trafficking, the political commentator and editor of  Nexos magazine, Hector Aguilar Camin, considered it illogical that our country is trying to prosecute those who transport marijuana into the United States while, in some parts of US, production is legal.

He said, "We are on the wrong side of the war on drugs:  in California  marijuana produces businesses and fortunes, here it produces the dead and prisoners. To prevent the grass that is planted here from reaching the other side, the police burn Mexican plantings and detain planters, donkey-drivers, drug dealers and kingpins ... in California the opposite occurs, it produces fortunes that qualify as visionary ... another variant of the American dream," he said...." Spanish original

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