Presidents call for drug debate at UN
Photo courtesy of talkingdrugs.org
Christopher Kirkland on Thu, 27/09/2012 – 12:13
While the attention of the media may have been focused on the speeches made by Barack Obama and David Cameron there were other important speeches, such as the speeches made by a few presidents calling for a debate on anti narcotic laws.
The presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala have all spoken out in the past about how the war on drugs is negatively impacting their countries. Despite the record amounts of money being used in Colombia to fight the war on drugs it is still one of the world’s biggest suppliers of cocaine whilst in Mexico the war on drugs has meant that tens of thousands of people have died often in very gruesome circumstances.
In the past Calderon, the Mexican president (leaves office in December 2012) has said that the US as the world’s biggest consumer of drugs needs to take more responsibility and perhaps change its policy. In 2011 he said “If [the Americans] are determined and resigned to consume drugs, then they should seek market alternatives in order to cancel the criminals’ stratospheric profits, or establish clear points of access [to drugs]. But this situation can’t go on.”
Calderon in his speech at the UN called for less ‘prohibitionist’ approach to drugs whilst Guatemala’s President, Otto Perez Molina went even further saying that “the basic premise of our war against drugs has proved to have serious shortcomings.”
The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos also spoke at the UN and said that there must be a debate into the alternatives to the war on drugs and that “It is our duty to determine – on objective scientific bases – if we are doing the best we can or if there are better options to combat the scourge,”
There is a growing hostility to the war on drugs in Latin America with a growing desire for an alternative to the war on drugs. There is also some frustration because the drug policies in the USA (as the largest consumer) impact Latin America. Without a change of policy in the USA the drug trade and the negative consequences which are linked to it will continue to hurt Latin America.