May 21, 2011

Whack-a-mole drug war: Misguided U.S. drug policies afflict Mexico, Central America

Opinion | Misguided U.S. drug policies afflict Mexico, Central America | Seattle Times Newspaper: "...the war on drug dealers, decreed by Calderón and partially funded by hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. government assistance, has not only failed to curb the trade but intensified horrific violence, corruption and human-rights abuses. ...

The Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who stopped his writing after his 24-year-old son was gunned down by drug terrorists earlier this year, catalyzed the May marches. He articulated a Martin Luther King-like answer to the violence convulsing his country:

"We will not turn this pain in our souls, in our bodies, in hate nor in more violence, but in a vehicle to help us restore love, peace, justice and dignity and the stuttering democracy that we're losing."

And Sicilia had a stern judgment to make — as King did in his time — about the U.S. government: "Since the war was unleashed as a means to exterminate (drug trafficking), the United States, which is the grand consumer of these toxic substances, has not done anything to support us."

There, indeed, is the rub: Americans' complicity, their attitude that the Mexican drug nightmare is someone else's problem, or as both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama seem to believe, a situation with a military solution.... 
A group of 20-plus U.S. experts and advocates in drug policy and Latin American affairs has weighed in on Sicilia's side, calling on the U.S. to drop "failed prohibitionist drug policies" on our home turf "so that violence, corruption, assassinations and the degradation of Mexico's fragile democratic institutions" can be curbed.... 

U.S. aid is at low levels, compounded by our blithe assumption that the drug running and killing is their problem, not ours. Arguably it's high time for the United States, the mega-world power, to start paying more (and smarter) attention to close neighbors."

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