Guatemalan Leader Wants Decriminalization Talks

Newly installed Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has called for talks about a regional drug strategy, including drug decriminalization. Perez Molina made the remarks in an interview with the Mexican TV network Televisa, Miami's El Nuevo Herald reported.

Otto Perez Molina and the "iron fist" (wikimedia.org)
"I believe that the decriminalization of drugs would have to be a strategy in which all the region agreed," said the retired army general who took office January 14. "We're talking here from the south, where it is produced, through all the countries, like Guatemala, through which it passes, to Mexico and the United States. I think that if this is not the path, then when have to find another, but it has to be a regional strategy in which we are all disposed to make the same effort."

While praising Mexican President Felipe Calderon for making "a very great effort" in his fight against drug traffickers, Perez Molina complained that that effort "has not been matched by the United States, which is its neighbor and largest [drug] market."

Perez Molina's remarks on decriminalization come as something of a surprise. He said nothing like that during his election campaign, in which he vowed to use "an iron fist" against encroaching Mexican cartels. In one of his first acts in office, he emulated Calderon by calling out the armed forces to fight the cartels.

Both the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel are reported to be operating in Guatemala, which borders Mexico to the north. The drug gangs are blamed for an increasing number of killings in the Central American country, the bloodiest being the May 2011 massacre of 27 farm workers whose boss had been targeted by the Zetas.

Guatemala
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Cannabis Legal

Cannabis Legalization in the U.S.A. would decimate Mexican cannabis imports . People would grow their own . It would be much better also . Mexico will have a new President soon who will end the madness . What is happening in Guatemala is a direct result of Mexico`s activities . It`s amazing that the public allows it . Cannabis legalization is about to smack a lot of folks square in the face .Ohh , I didn`t see that tree as I was running into the forest , how did I ever get here .......... 2012 .

Gart's picture

Another seating president joins the club!

Here we go, again. Another seating president joins the club. This time is the current president of Guatemala, Otto Pérez, who adds his to the calls made by seating presidents of Colombia and Mexico, by former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, as well as those made by the members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, to replace the current prohibitionist regime with one that does not criminalise the drugs market; that is, the whole market chain, not just the consumption of drugs.

What is really remarkable about the calls coming from both current and former Latin American presidents is their insistence that no significant change in drugs policies could be ever achieved, unless consuming countries are willing and able to take ownership of their responsibility on the status quo and support a radical overhaul of the international conventions that criminalise the consumption and production of illegal drugs.

Any person who cares to look at how the international community has reacted so far to their calls, especially to Bolivia failed attempt to amend the 1961 Convention, a rather symbolic change I must add, has no choice but to conclude that there is very little producing countries can do on their own to replace the War on Drugs policies with more rational ones as long as the countries with the real power to do it say otherwise. And the real power, literally and metaphorically, is in the hands of consuming countries, most conspicuously the US.

Now, the obvious question one has to ask is what has been the response of consuming countries to the repeated calls for support those countries at the other side of the fence have been making for decades?

Maybe I am wrong, perhaps I have read the wrong newspapers, have followed the wrong blogs, or all of the above, but the fact is that I have not heard any voices from those governments supporting Bolivia’s decision or Calderon and Santos’ call for “market alternatives”, let alone, promoting more rational and effective policies regarding the supply of drugs on their own accord.

I find it rather cynical the way we, consuming countries, have completely ignored what has been happening on the other side of the drug market, the supply (production and distribution) of drugs. For we have decided that despite the havoc our demand for drugs under the current prohibitionist regime is creating in drug producing countries, what matters is what happens at home and at home alone.

As it happens, a number of countries such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, among many others, have in a way “quasi legalised” the demand for drugs. They have de jure or de facto depenalised or decriminalised the personal consumption of some drugs, including cocaine and heroin.

In the case of marijuana, some countries have even “quasi legalised” the supply as well by allowing users to grow a number of marijuana plants in their homes and for their own consumption, by tolerating the operation of so called “cannabis social clubs”, or by authorising the cultivation of marijuana to supply dispensaries where consumption on medical grounds is allowed.

In the US, for instance, the consumption of marijuana for medical reasons is allowed in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, the value of marijuana produced in the US to supply the domestic demand is estimated to be over $35 billion, making it the nation’s largest cash crop.

You would be forgiven for thinking that countries that have “quasi legalised” the consumption or the domestic production of drugs would be vociferously demanding the immediate introduction of changes in the current drugs policies regarding the supply by major producing and distributing countries, too. Well, you could not be more wrong, I am afraid.

Rather than using our enormous political and economic clout to reform the international conventions that sustain Prohibition and the War on Drugs, we keep supporting, promoting and enforcing the illegality of the supply of drugs. And by blaming it on the existing laws, we have been able to walk away from our responsibility for the atrocious consequences it has had on producing countries.

I do not have any doubts that policies such harm reduction programmes, decriminalisation or depenalisation of the demand for drugs are sensible and necessary policies. But if we were serious about tackling the so-called drug problem, we should be accompanying those same policies with equally sensible policies towards the supply of drugs.

Moreover, I will go as far as to say that the onus is on us, drug consuming countries in the developed world. We should be the ones promoting the Legalisation & Regulation of the supply. We should be the ones making all the noises calling for a change in the national and international legislation on drugs. We should be spearheading the movement seeking to legalise the production and distribution of all drugs.

Gart Valenc

twitter: @gartvalenc

website: http://www.stopthewarondrugs.org

Pot Decrim.

Asshole Amerika will never decriminalize pot because doo gooder christian assholes don't like people being free to recreationally use anything. These christian shitheads ruin everyones life and there is no end in sight. Just get used to it.

reply

while I totally agree with your post, we have to shape the arguments so that we can present them to the people who have the ability to change laws. When we go to the level of using inappropriate language we will lose because then the opposition can go off on tangents and shape the argument towards that. The only way to win this is by out thinking our opponents. I am not trying to say you are wrong at all just remember this is going to be fought on many levels and we have to outsmart the a-----e's as you call them. Do not loose your passion my friend we will prevail in the end   he who laughs last has some good weed!!!!!!!! haha lol

discussion

how long will the world wait to rectify the mistake of prohibition???  Didn't we learn from the monster created by the alcohol prohibition? this is worse by far and many millions of people are collateral damage which is not acceptable. Wake up world and realize that it will never go away and certainly will not be legislated out of existance. how many more must suffer??

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Manuel replied, "Well, yeah most of the time I am right. I'm just a tailor, you know."

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