Monday, February 27, 2012

U.S. rejects Guatemala's proposal to "open a dialog" on possible drug legalization

Napolitano gives a thumbs down to Guatemalan president's "decriminalization" plan

Guatemala City - Following a trip to Mexico City earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano arrived in this war torn nation which is feeling the full brunt of international narcotics trafficking, and flatly rejected drug legalization as a topic open to debate.

During a joint press conference with president Otto Pérez Molina, Napolitano said, "There are better ways to address the problem of drug trafficking." Reiterating conventional themes, the secretary argued that strategic emphasis should be placed on reducing drug addiction, intercepting drugs in transit and disrupting production and distribution channels. "There are many ways the United States can cooperate with countries in the region, and we must continue working together towards the same goals."

Echoing statements by president Barack Obama last year, the secretary acknowledged that U.S. drug demand is behind the narcotics trafficking which has become the scourge of Central America. When he took office last month, Guatemalan president Pérez Molina said that his country was on the brink of "economic and moral bankruptcy" due to narcotics and human trafficking . Just 24 hours after being sworn in, Pérez Molina assigned Guatemala's military forces primary responsibility for rooting out traffickers and cartel operatives who are overrunning the country, some of them fleeing south from Mexico.

Today the Guatemalan president would have none of Napolitano's abrupt door slamming. He insisted that his country would "press ahead" with proposals to open what he called an "international dialog" on the decriminalization of drugs. "What we're proposing is a dialog and a debate on the issue, because we believe that after 25 years of fighting narcotics trafficking, it's time to consider other strategies," said Pérez Molina. "Some countries will be in favor and some against the proposal of decriminalization, but that's not important. What we want is to open the dialog. Meanwhile, we'll continue the fight against trafficking."

Secretary Napolitano will continue her whirlwind Latin American tour with stops later this week in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panamá.

Mar. 5: Vice President Joe Biden delivered exactly the same no legalization message today while in Mexico, on the first stage of a trip which retraces Napolitano's.

Why call it "decriminalization" when clearly it's legalization?
Honduras new warehouse for U.S.-bound cocaine, "where the consumers are"
Mitt Romney talks tough on U.S. drug demand
Obama says U.S. drug demand is responsible for Latin drug violence
Feds ready to bust California pot distributors
And what if the dominoes fall in Central America?

1 comment:

  1. In visits to El Salvador and Costa Rica yesterday and today, secretary Napolitano is hitting hard on the anti-legalization theme. But in extemporaneous remarks to the press, she acknowledges that the demand side of the equation must be addressed. Napolitano says that Barack Obama is committed to addressing the problem of U.S drug demand (Obama's 2013 budget request to Congress includes $10 billion for drug abuse programs and initiatives).