Drug War news this week brought the issue of drug legalization to the fore in two arenas. First, the new president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, announced that he would propose discussion of legalization at the next meeting of the heads of Central American governments. The president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, after meeting with Perez, said he agreed, but then retracted, evidently after pressure from the U.S.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City an international forum, "Drugs: an Assessment of a Century of Prohibition," was convened to discussed whether or not legalization is a viable alternative to prohibition. It brought together the wife of President Calderon, the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, and leading Mexican and U.S. experts and political analysts. It made for a lively debate.
Human Rights and Rule of Law news centered on a speech by the Mexican Secretary of Defense, General Guillermo Galvan Galvan, in which he acknowledged two things: in parts of Mexico "public security ... is completely overrun," and that the Army has committed "mistakes" that violated human rights.
A Mexican Catholic bishop sharply criticized the militarization of the country as a strategy to intimidate the citizenry. Meanwhile, Mexico was reporting to a U.N. committee regarding the systematic violation of the rights of indigenous people. The U.N. said it was happy with Mexico's improvements.
As for the Mexican government's efforts to build the rule of law, it announced the training--by U.S. experts--of 8,000 justice system personnel in how to collect evidence and conduct oral trials.
Guatemala president to propose legalizing drugs
The Associated Press: "Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Saturday he will propose legalizing drugs in Central America in an upcoming meeting with the region's leaders. Perez Molina said that his proposal would include decriminalizing the transportation of drugs through the area. "I want to bring this discussion to the table," he said. "It wouldn't be a crime to transport, to move drugs. It would all have to be regulated."" read more
El Salvador’s Funes Retreats on Drug Legalization Debate
The Pan-American Post: "Hours after expressing support for the Guatemalan president’s call for a debate on drug legalization, Salvadoran leader Mauricio Funes has beat a hasty retreat, declaring himself opposed to any such initative. ... He said, "I am not in agreement with the depenalization of drugs; neither the production, nor the transport, nor the consumption." This hasty clarification seems likely to have been made under pressure from Washington." read more
Drug prohibition follows the logic of the past
La Jornada: "To close one's self inflexibly to changing the strategy of total prohibition of drugs and to exclusively use force against the violence generated by organized crime make it impossible to have a healthier and safer society and reduce the use of illicit substances, warned specialists at the international forum, "Drugs: An Assessment of a Century of Prohibition". read more
War on drugs goes beyond legalization says Mexico's Secretary of the Interior
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. read more
Wife of Mexican president and Secretary of Interior deem drug legalization useless
Excelsior: "Legalizing drugs in Mexico would not solve the problem of violence and addiction, said Margarita Zavala, wife of President Felipe Calderon. ... 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. read more
Pay attention to the clamor to legalize drugs, Drug Policy Allliance head suggests to presidential candidates
La Jornada: The New York political scientist, Ethan Nadelmann, who moved from academia (Princeton) to activism against prohibitionist policies in the past two decades, says he does not rule out that the three leading candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in Mexico may pay attention to the voices of civil society, which are gradually beginning to demand the legalization of marijuana. read more
Human Right and Rule of Law Mexico
Defense Minister says Public Security 'Overrun'
InSight Crime: "Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galvan addressed the national security situation in the country, pessimistically describing it in stark terms. “Clearly, in some sectors of the country the public security situation is completely overrun,” said Galvan, adding that “it should be recognized that national security is seriously threatened.” He went on to say that organized crime in the country has managed to penetrate not only society, but also the country’s state institutions." read more
What exactly are the “mistakes” of the Army?
Mexico Institute: "Last Thursday,.. general Guillermo Galván, secretary of National Defense, admitted that the Army has committed "mistakes" in the fight against organized crime.... However, he did not give any details on those "mistakes." They are, concretely: 33 civilians murdered, 225 tortured civilians, 20 victims of rape (17 women and three men), and three forced disappearances between December of 2006 and December of 2011. This information is contained in 82 archives from the National Commission on Human Rights." read more
Mexican Bishop says: militarization of the nation is intended to intimidate
La Jornada: "The terror implanted in the population, as well as the intimidation of human rights defenders, form part of the strategies applied to civil society thanks to the nation's militarization, said the bishop of Saltillo, Raúl Vera López. read more
Mexico will respond to the UN on violation of the rights of indigenous
Milenio: "The Mexican government will have to respond Tuesday, to the UN regarding the systematic violation of the rights of indigenous people, despite their legal status. It will also have to respond as to why it does not respect the rights of migrant workers who cross its territory. ... "The UN Program for Development (UNDP) said, in its 2010 report ... that, despite government measures, indigenous Mexicans suffer greater inequalities than any other group, and that their access to health, education, social security, housing and other services is very limited." read more
UN recognizes scope of “judicial revolution” in Mexico
Milenio: “The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) meeting today in Geneva, recognized the impact of the “judicial revolution” which has been carried out in Mexico and which promotes human rights and the fight against discrimination. “The qualitative leap that has been made by the Mexican state in the past decade is a very important fact which marks a substantive advance in the fight against racism and all types of discrimination,”said the CERD rapporteur for Mexico, Pastor Murillo." read more
US Trains Mexico Officials to Carry Out Oral Trials
InSight Crime: "The US Justice Department will train thousands of Mexican public servants to carry out oral trials, as Mexico rushes to implement a series of sweeping judicial reforms in time for a 2016 deadline. Up to 8,000 agents from Mexico's Ministry of Public Security, the Federal Police and the Attorney General's Office will be trained to hold oral, public trials. The initiative will be funded under the terms of the US's primary security program for Mexico, the Merida Initiative. read more
Mexico at the Helm of the G20
MexicoBlog: "In a few days Hillary Clinton will be coming to Los Cabos, in Baja California, to take part in an unusual meeting of foreign ministers. Los Cabos is hosting the ministers of G20 countries ... as part of the run-up to the G20 summit to be held in the same resort in June. Mexico took over the presidency of the G20 last December. ... Foreign minister meetings don't normally form part of the Group of 20 process. But the Mexican government seems to have decided on a strategy of multiple and frequent preparatory meetings as the best guarantee for a successful summit...." read more
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