By PJRC correspondent Alci
Latin American leaders criticized the Drug War in their 2012 UN General Assembly speeches.
Bolivia’s president Evo Morales condemned US drug policy in Latin America, and also criticized current Obama White House double standards when it comes to general foreign policy. Even the region’s top right-wing leaders agreed on the general consensus that the Drug War is a failure costing too many lives and too much money.
Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia all walked a delicate line by preserving their “tough on crime” personas while clearly admitting that militarization alone will not solve the narcotics issue.
Calderon, delivering his final UN address as president of Mexico, vowed to not “give in an inch” to narco gangs but then called on the UN to lead a global debate to reach a “less prohibitionist” approach to drugs, a clear reference to the Prohibition era of the 1920s-30s in the US when bootlegging gangs became rampant. Calderon also criticized lax US gun control laws and the flow of weapons into Mexico where 60,000 have died in the US-funded drug war.
Santos of Colombia, which long before Mexico has been the key zone for US militarization and intervention under the cover of the Drug War, stated during his speech that "It is our duty to determine - on an objective scientific basis - if we are doing the best we can or if there are better options to combat this scourge," both Santos and Calderon have expressed openness towards gradual narcotics legalization to stem narco violence.
During his speech and various press interviews, Guatemala’s Perez Molina called for a gradual legalization of drug worldwide and stated, "the basic premise of our war against drugs has proved to have serious shortcomings." The US is planning to spend $9 million in Guatemala next year for Drug War purposes.
President Obama has vowed not to change course in Latin America when it comes to fighting drug trafficking, but the message slowly materializing from both sides of the region’s political spectrum is clear: The Drug War is not working.