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Guatemalan President Will Propose Drug Legalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #721)
Drug War Issues

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is again speaking out on drug legalization. He said in a Saturday radio interview that he would propose legalizing drugs in a forthcoming meeting with regional leaders, and he specified that that included decriminalizing the transport of drugs through the Central American isthmus.

President Otto Perez Molina and his "mano duro"
"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."

Saturday's comments reinforce remarks the retired general made last month, shortly after taking office. Then, he said the drug trade should be decriminalized "from the south, where it is produced, through all the countries, like Guatemala, through which it passes, to Mexico and the United States."

Perez Molina didn't provide any more specifics of his proposal, nor did he say when the regional meeting would take place. But he did say he would discuss the subject with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes when Funes visits Monday.

Perez Molina said that the war on drugs and all the US cash and technical assistance had failed to reduce drug trafficking in the region, which serves as a springboard for South American cocaine headed into Mexico and, ultimately, the United States.

"There was talk of the success of Plan Colombia but all it did was neutralize big cartels," Perez Molina, referring to the US' decade-long, $6 billion anti-drug effort in Colombia.

The first time around, Perez Molina's remarks on decriminalization come as something of a surprise, but now he has twice called for a discussion of what is in effect full legalization. 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.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


MoL (not verified)

Well if you think about it,legal market drug regulation is really the tool that will do the most damage to cartels if that's Molinas intent. What more "Iron fisted"  plan could he use other than taking away his opponents primary source of income while still hammering away using military force? 

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 3:58pm Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)

There will be an election in Mexico this year and a possible change of government could see a president there with similar views. On top of ballot initiatives and presidential hopefuls supportive of ending the drug war in the Nov US elections 2012 looks like being a year we discuss drug law reform.

Tue, 02/14/2012 - 1:33am Permalink
Elena Bost (not verified)

Well, I will probably won't live long enought to see legalization happen. My dad spoke against prohibting things in the early 1970's had lived thru alcohol prohibtion. It only took 13 years for people to repeal that law but people now must not be as smart as this drug mess has gone on for over 40 years. I have been speaking against it for over 30 and don't plan to stop. The prison industry loves the fact drugs are illegal as they make a tons of money
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 1:07pm Permalink

political rights for a culture of people who use drugs


If their million of people using drugs These people should have political
rights. Why have laws that give crime control over the drugs people use ? People
get kill doing it this way and make the abuse that happens in the world by
having crime control the drugs . Feel the sprite of liberty and join me in
finding a safer better way Vote for a better way just write the name and Say the
people a culture of people who use drugs should have freedom of choice for
safer use. Vote for A
better way Carl Caswell
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 7:08pm Permalink

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