Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan joined CBS' Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation today to talk about the violence on Mexico's border resulting from the drug trade. Among other things, the senior diplomat told Schieffer that the U.S. should take the debate over marijuana legalization seriously.
"Those that suggest that some of these measures need to be looked at understand the dynamics of the drug trade; you have to bring demand down and one way to do it is to move in that direction [towards legalization]...There are many others who believe that doing this will just fan the flames," Sarukhan told Schieffer.
Some authorities close to the border violence are beginning to advocate for a legalization scenario. At the end of February, Terry Goddard, Arizona's Attorney General, said that while he's not in favor of legalizing marijuana, he thinks it should be debated as a way of curbing violence in the increasingly deadly clashes between Mexico's gangs. In addition, three former presidents of Latin America - Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo - have all urged the United States and Latin American governments to move away from jailing drug users, to debate the legalization of marijuana, and to place more emphasis on the treatment of addicts.
"This is a debate that needs to be taken seriously, that we have to engage in on both sides of the border: both in producing, in trafficking, and in consumption countries," he said of the marijuana legalization debate.
Guns coming across the border into Mexico are also a matter of concern. The ambassador believes that "90% of the guns we are seizing in Mexico...are coming from the United States."
David Edwards and Joe Byrne
Published: Sunday April 12, 2009