Summit of the Americas Could Mark Start of ‘Soft’ Drug War (El Espectador, Colombia)
Could this be the dawn of a new era in the battle against illegal drug use? According to columnist Cristina de la Torre of Colombia’s El Espectador, for the first time in the 40-year history of the drug war, a ‘third way’ is being considered by leaders planning to attend the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next weekend: instead of a ‘shooting war,’ a ‘preventive war’.
For El Espectador, Cristina de la Torre writes in part:
Gaining strength among conference attendees is the idea of dropping the shooting war and replacing it with preventive war (strong on publicity and education). But during the process of restructuring our priorities with the goal of decriminalizing consumption, we must never lower our guard.
When it comes to the sinister drug mafias, we will have to reverse the focus of our investments: As we reduce military spending in this war, the savings will have to be invested in preventive health, as has been done in the Netherlands and Portugal. A responsible decriminalization will be controlled, regulated and periodically evaluated: this war by other means would be lethal to the narco-traffickers, arms dealers and bankers who have grown fat on the proceeds of this multi-billion-dollar business.
It is known, although rarely disclosed, that financial groups and international banks use tax havens to launder the money into legal investments, almost always on stock markets.
A program of reducing demand through mass and intense education has never been tried, but preliminary results are encouraging. Similar programs illustrate this.
That was the approach taken by the United States after the publication of the Wickersham Report on alcohol prohibition, when gangsters and police corruption had plunged the country into crisis. What would be new is the possibility that at the summit, a war different from the one that has favored drug dealers and bankers for the past 40 years might be proposed.
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