Thursday, February 12, 2009

Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift

The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy released a report ("Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift") outlining their recommendations about the "drug war." Here is the web site, but unfortunately right now the link to the report does not work.

However, press reports (e.g. the WSJ) provide the gist, namely that the supply emphasis is not working and that drug use is not decreasing. Further, it opens up the idea of decriminalization, at least of marijuana.

The potential importance and influence of this report and its ideas stems from the authors. The commission was headed by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ernesto Zedillo, and César Gaviria. They are people the U.S. government gets along with and takes seriously. Having Latin American leaders from the center-right given even more weight to the argument.

Further, this is a regional response. It would have been even better to include a president from Central America to make the symbolic point. The overall point, though, is that regional consensus is quite strong and now is transcending ideological divides, since the left has been saying these sorts of things for a long time.

Obviously, this doesn't necessarily translate into any change in U.S. policy. But at the very least it is a more unified response than usual, and will be hard to ignore.

“It makes no sense to continue a policy on moral grounds without getting the desired results,” said Gaviria, citing an October report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showing drug reduction goals in Colombia have not been met. “Obama, being a pragmatist, should recognize these failures.”

5 comments:

Profe Josh 10:26 AM  

Do you really feel like anything could ever be accomplished in trimming the trade? I think it would be more feasible and cost fewer lives to curb the demand side. I also think narco-corrupcion is so thick that any attempts made south of our borders would nulled by bribes or violence from the cartels. Why do you think-although growing-consumption south of the border comes no where close to the American level?

Anonymous,  12:00 PM  

Af-Pak Drug war a failure too. not that it's an AF-Pak war.

Justin Delacour 8:08 PM  

“It makes no sense to continue a policy on moral grounds without getting the desired results,” said Gaviria, citing an October report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showing drug reduction goals in Colombia have not been met.

That's all predicated on the assumption that the stated purposes of the "drug war" accurately reflect the real motives behind the policy. If the real objectives are to maintain a pretext for U.S. interventions abroad, then the "drug war" does not represent a failure from the perspective of those who are executing it.

It would be highly naive to think that there isn't more to the "drug war" than drugs.

jeff 11:59 AM  

For the sustainability of a free civilization we need PLANT FREEDOM!!

People need to be educated as to the effects of consuming products...especially drugs and foods.

cannabis is the least harmful of the other drugs alcohol and tobacco without a doubt. especially one who could vaporize cannabis in their hemp built house while reading a hemp newspaper waiting for the pot brownies sprinkled with hemps seeds in the oven fueled by hemp oil!!!

We need to educated those feeble minds still brainwashed by RACE & Corporate driven campaigns that made cannabis illegal. for this now two entirely beneficial plants evolved from this earth many years before homosapiens (and especially ADAM and EVE for you believers of that really old book that kills so many trees) CANNABIS and HEMP need to be legalized.

PLANT FREEDOM Please continue to openly debate this with people in actual conversation!!

People will no doubt consume less tobacco!! and think of all the taxpayer dollars saved as we will no longer have to FUND CORPORATE prisons to lock up peaceful human beings!!!

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