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  1. enquirewithin
    Once again, the United Nations' General Assembly meeting in New York City has become a forum for calls for drug reform. Leaders from Latin America took the opportunity this week to criticize drug prohibition and challenge the world body to come up with better alternatives.Colombian President Santos was among Latin American leaders challenging drug prohibition at the UN.[imgl=red]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=35205&stc=1&d=1380845631

    "Right here, in this same headquarters, 52 years ago, the convention that gave birth to the war on drugs was approved. Today, we must acknowledge, that war has not been won," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told assembled world leaders Tuesday, referring to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. "And I say this as the president of the country that has suffered more deaths, more bloodshed and more sacrifices in this war, and the country that has also achieved more results in the fight against this scourge and the mafias that underpin it."

    The Colombian president's remarks echoed those he made last year at the Summit of the Americas, which commissioned the Organization of American States to study new approaches to dealing with illicit drugs. That study was issued in May, and Santos said the UN should give it serious consideration before a General Assembly Special Session on Drugs set for 2016. That session was proposed by Mexico and accepted by the General Assembly.

    Also on Tuesday, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said that her nation "joins the call from other States from our region, such as Mexico and Guatemala, to reevaluate internationally agreed-upon policies in search of more effective responses to drug trafficking, from a perspective of health, a framework of respect for human rights, and a perspective of harm reduction."

    That language is from a consensus statement elaborated and agreed on by Santos, Chinchilla, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, and Mexican President Enrique Peña.

    On Thursday, it was Perez Molina's turn. A former general elected to office on a promise of taking a hard-line against organized crime, Perez Molina last year became the first sitting head of state to call for legalizing the illicit drug market. This year, he was still singing the same tune.

    "Since the start of my government, we have clearly affirmed that the war on drugs has not yielded the desired results," Perez Molina told the General Assembly. "We cannot keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results."

    Instead, global leaders must seek new approaches to drug use centered on public health and prevention and designed to reduce violence and respect human rights, he said. Perez Molina also praised voters in Colorado and Washington for their "visionary decision" to legalize marijuana and praised President Obama for "respecting the voice of the citizens of Colorado and Washington, to allow these innovative experiences to provide results."

    Perez Molina lauded Uruguayan President Jose Mujica for proposing marijuana legalization legislation there "instead of following the failed route of prohibition." That bill has passed the Uruguayan House and is expected to pass the Senate easily next month. Perez Molina and Mujica also met Thursday in a private meeting.

    Mexico's Peña Nieto canceled his appearance at the UN to deal with the aftermath of the killer hurricanes that swept his country last week, but his foreign minister, Jose Antonio Meade Kuribena, echoed the language of the other Latin American leaders, adding that the consensus statement was also supported by Chile, Paraguay, and others.

    The calls for reform from the Latin Americans, whose countries have suffered some of the gravest consequences of the war on drugs, are growing ever louder, and it now appears that the 2016 Special Session could see real fireworks over the issue. If the Special Session happens, that is -- while the General Assembly has approved it, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is opposed, and the International Narcotics Control Board is resolutely oblivious.

    New York City, NY United States, by Phillip Smith, September 27, 2013


  1. Alfa
    The INCB would probably cease to exist or be severely limited if the treaties they guard & govern would be dissolved. Good luck trying to convince the board that they should quit their jobs.
  2. CaptainTripps
    The war on drugs in the Latin American countries has been about money. Money from America. This might have been a major windfall back when countries like Mexico and Columbia were living in absolute poverty. America was rich and very willing to write big checks to fund the war. But now their economies are improving and the Americas economy is falling apart. The dollar does not go as far as it used to. The big thing holding back the economies in places like Mexico is the violence. They don't need foreign aid from the US, they need peace and stability to prosper.

    The United States is in the middle of a "peaceful civil war". The war is over money. The rich want to keep as much as possible and the poor want their fair share. The US is paying a fortune in interest on the national debt. There is a very good chance that the US will actually default on their debts in about 2 weeks. The war on drugs is a "luxury" the country can not afford. The population is aging and the younger generation is either locked up or have criminal records that prevent them from becoming productive members of society. Marijuana is legal in two states and medical marijuana in about 20 more. The feds are doing basically nothing. Even the conservatives are not making a fuss, more important to keep health care away from the people than it is pot away from them. Many of the younger tea party types don't want to spend money on the war on drugs and they don't like the big government it takes to maintain the war.

    The counties to the south can see the writing on the wall. America is losing the war on drugs and everyone knows it. They have to ask themselves how much more death and destruction are they will to endure in the end days of this war. Who wants to be the last person to die in a losing battle. Just as Russia lost control over its communist empire of the Soviet Union and East Europe, America is losing it's control of the southern hemisphere. This is going to happen sooner than one might think.

    I think it is time to get out of the UN. It has outlived it usefulness. It has long been criticized by conservatives and I think it is time for liberals to get on board. With the security council nothing can get done due to veto's anyway. Being in the UN is longer in the US national interest. I don't think it is in the interest of most counties. We need to embrace diversity in the various countries, not seek one size fits all policies. The United States needs to stay out of other peoples businesses. They need to stop trying to run the world and they need to spend their money at home.

    If the counties of Latin America figure out that the gravy train is gone, they will soon learn to stand on their own two feet. I can not see why any amount of aid money would be worth the living hell counties like Mexico are going through to fight the US drug war. The smart politicians are going to want to be on the right side of history and that is ending prohibition.
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