Apr 9, 2012

Drugs: The Debate Goes Mainstream

This article is well-worth reading, especially given the authors--former presidents Cardoso of Brazil, Zedillo of Mexico and Gaviria of Colombia. These, of course, are the men who headed up the Global Commission on Drugs and Democracy report that arrived at the same conclusion and has been amply commented on in these pages and the Americas Program

Since we began covering the drug war and backwards U.S. policy with Bush's Merida Initiative in 2007, we've never seen the debate break open like it has in the past few months. Between the declarations of past presidents, the inroads of acting Presidents Perez Molina and Santos, and pressure from grassroots movements, we're looking at the real possibility of ending the prohibition approach and finding strategies that actually work-- and don't just kill civilians and bloat defense budgets. 

The counter-offensive is high though. The Obama administration has sent out envoys every week for the past two months to quell protests against its drug war. Even progressive groups in Washington that should know the damage wreaked by the Merida Initiative and the drug war model it supports, uphold the Initiative due to the minimal funds to NGOs and questionable reform programs it provides. 

If you want to join us in this movement to end the drug war at this critical moment, please go to this link: http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/3475 and write us to find out how your organization can get involved at info@cipamericas.org     LEC

Huffington Post: What is the best way to deal with drugs? Criminalizing drug users or treating them as patients? Sticking to a strict prohibitionist stance or experimenting with alternative forms of regulation and prevention?

Latin America is talking about drugs like never before. The taboo that has long prevented open debate about drug policies has been broken -- thanks to a steadily deteriorating situation on the ground and the courageous stand taken by presidents Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala and Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica.

The facts speak for themselves. The foundations of the U.S.-led war on drugs -- eradication of production, interdiction of traffic, and criminalization of consumption -- have not succeeded and never will. When there is established demand for a consumer product, there will be a supply. The only beneficiaries of prohibition are the drug cartels.  read more

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