Monday, September 24, 2012

"Don't throw us back," Calderón urges Peña Nieto, while hinting that U.S. may have to consider drug legalization

"It's grossly unjust and offensive that so many lives have been lost in Mexico due to indiscriminate trafficking in weapons coming from the United States" - Felipe Calderón, today in Washington

President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto takes office in nine weeks
Guadalajara -
Speaking in Washington today, Mexico's president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa had friendly but firm words for successor Enrique Peña Nieto.

"I don't see any option other than to continue with the struggle against criminals, apart from taking a step backwards by just telling them, 'Here you go, the city is yours, it's very pretty, take it, it's all yours.' The war against crime must continue," said the outgoing PAN president, who has about 70 days left in his six year term. Mr. Peña Nieto will assume office on Dec. 1.

Calderón made his remarks during a conference at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, attended by businessmen, government officials, academics and journalists (Felipe Calderón, Mexican cabinet make last call on U.S.).

"The next government of Mexico is going to continue with the effort, or so they say, although certainly they have the right and the obligation to consider alternatives. But in all honesty, do any of you really believe there is another alternative?"

The president added, "I don't see any other option, apart from the regulation of drugs in the global market, beginning right here in the United States. That's why I say that if it's not possible to reduce drug demand dramatically in this country, other alternatives will have to be considered."

"It's grossly unjust and offensive that so many lives have been lost in Mexico due to indiscriminate trafficking in weapons coming from the United States," Calderón also told the conference attendees (U.S. Inspector General files Fast and Furious Report).

The president was asked to comment on Enrique Peña Nieto's repeated campaign suggestions that he would follow a "different drug war strategy" - claims which seemed to vanish once he was elected July 1 (Peña Nieto's Manifesto makes New York Times; Mexican voters got suckered on drug war). Earlier this month the president-elect's transition team, while emphasizing that "new approaches" indeed were under consideration, acknowledged that for the present the PRI leader will stick to Calderón's National Security Strategy, heavily focused upon the use of military forces to provide domestic policing (Peña Nieto transition team confirms: Mexican army will remain on the streets).

In terms of possible alternatives, Calderón noted, "Let's be honest, nothing occurs to me other than the market regulation of drugs, starting here in the United States. But the new leadership will have to look at any and all ways of stopping the flow of money towards criminals. The other option would be simply to hand over the power of the State to them, which would mean no government at all," he said. (Sept. 25: Mexico's target is not drugs in themselves, says Calderón. The government's interest is in restoring the rule of law, and protecting the nation from forces which threaten the State itself).

"Regulation" of drugs in the global market is a buzzword for legalization, and today is not the first time Calderón has put the topic on the table. But the U.S. remains firmly opposed to the idea, and has repeatedly told its Latin American partners so (U.S. rejects Guatemala's proposal to "open a dialog" on possible drug legalization).

After attending several events in Washington president Calderón will deliver his last address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this week.

Note: A Spanish news source reports today that activists in three U.S. states - Colorado, Oregon and Washington - are mobilizing to push for the legalization of marijuana (Tres estados de EU, a un paso de legalizar la marihuana). Such proposals, even if approved by state legislatures, would be void or voidable, since U.S. law prohibits possession of cannabis for any reason (including so-called "medical marijuana"). Federal supremacy principles give the national government primary or exclusive authority to regulate some fields; one of those is narcotics and legislatively-determined dangerous substances. In brief, no state may arbitrarily legalize that which Congress has decided to prohibit. The American legal system generates endless conflicts of this nature (which to some extent it was intended to do), leading at times to confusion and misstatements as to what the law really says on a particular issue.

Sept. 25: Enrique Peña Nieto, on a tour of South American countries, responded today to president Calderón's challenge. But he said nothing about drug war issues which he has not already said many times before. He'll keep the army on the streets until conditions improve, and he'll focus on the crimes which most concern Mexicans: kidnapping and extortion, especially of the commercial type. The obvious and yet unanswered question is, how? And how is any of this different from what the Calderón administration has been doing for the last 70 months? Newly designed brooms don't necessarily sweep better, as this country is about to learn first hand.

Oct. 8 - Peña Nieto's Colombian drug war consultant is a U.S. informant, with clear marching orders: make a deal with cartel bosses
Sept. 26 - "Drug users kill thousands of young people in developing nations," Calderón tells U.N.

Sept. 25, 2011 - Americans like to get stoned
Dec. 6, 2011 - Mérida summit to U.S.: get drug addiction under control, stop the flow of weapons
Dec. 29, 2011 - Honduras "invaded by drug traffickers," shipping tons of cocaine to U.S. customers

Related content
Peruvian Nobel Prize winner flip-flops on drug war, and urges Peña Nieto to abandon drug war
Enrique Peña Nieto's biggest challenges will be economy and environment, not drug cartels
New York Times got Mexican candidates' drug war strategies wrong
Economic inequality the primary cause of Mexico's insecurity, says Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Vicente Fox: legalize all drugs immediately
Mexico's drug war is "unequal, unjust and brutal," says presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota
More evidence Mexican drug war strategy is working, as violence shifts southward
Opinion: Drug "decriminalization" or legalization, it's all the same at the end of the day
Vicente Fox urges legalization of all drugs in Mexico - and worldwide

No comments:

Post a Comment