Feb 14, 2012

Drug Policy Debate: War on drugs goes beyond legalization says Mexico's Secretary of the Interior

Mexico's number two government leader responds to a discussion of drug legalization at an international forum, "An Assessment of a Century of Prohibition", held this week in Mexico City. He also is implicitly replying to the announcement this past week by Guatemala's new president, Otto Perez Molina, proposing that Latin American countries consider legalizing the drug trade.

Milenio: "Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire defended the federal government's strategy to combat organized crime, noting that this problem goes beyond the legalization of a product and attention to drug trafficking. Participating in the International Forum "Drugs: an Assessment of a Century of Prohibition," ... Poire said that Mexico does not criminalize drug use.

The head of the Interior Secretariat listened to questions from a young adult who said that "Juarez is a state of terror, a totalitarian state", and demanded a clear stance on the legalization of drugs. Poiré replied that "today we live in a country where we are facing a very difficult struggle and democratic institutions allow us to have an open forum, democratic and pluralistic, as we are having today."

However, he recalled that "the problem of organized crime goes far beyond just the legalization of a product and is ... an issue that goes beyond even just attention to drug trafficking." In this framework, he said that there is no denying the structural environment of crime as disusssed in these debates, "we can not deny the historical setting that led to criminals becoming more powerful than ever."

And "we can not deny that from the beginning of the administration of President Felipe Calderón we acknowledged the magnitude of the problem and have confronted it with a comprehensive strategy, a strategy that was suggested by President (Fernando) Henrique Cardoso (of Brazil), which was not to criminalize drug use. "

He insisted that the government of Mexico is working at the strengthening of institutions, rebuilding the social fabric and having better judges and security forces, and better accountability. The head of the internal policy for the country stated that "no one will do our work for us ... The task is to build a country of laws." ...

Mexico, he said, is investing in more drug education, health care and prevention. He said that organized crime is a problem that transcends borders, which is why this administration has allocated a budget of over six billion 600 million pesos for the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. In the United States, alone, the retail sale of cocaine generates profits in excess of 35 billion dollars, he said.

Poiré emphasized that the Federal Government's strategy is based on three key areas: fighting criminals in areas where they operate, beginning to transform the institutions of security and justice with respect for human rights and prevention of impunity and rebuilding the social fabric." Spanish original

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