CALLS FOR U.S. DRUG LEGALIZATION FROM SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Hal Pepinsky, email@example.com, pepinsky.blogspot.com
April 13, 2012
Check al Jazeera’s report on pleas for US drug legalization at the Summit of the Americas--which President Obama will attend tomorrow after discussion of the legalization is over--at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/04/2012413142349136990.html . The report points to the irony that among political leaders in Latin America, it is those self-identified as leftist in Nicaragua and Cuba, and U.S. ex-colony Panama, who continue to support the U.S. led war on drugs, launched by President Nixon in 1971. Asking for drug legalization are presidents self-identified as conservative: a former defense minister in Columbia, a former general in Guatemala who was elected president on a platform of fighting a broad war on crime, and in Mexico, a president who at U.S. behest launched an ill-fated war on drug traffickers. “Conservative” presidents of Costa Rica and El Salvador have joined them.
In a visit to Central America last week, the US vice president said that the topic of legalization was worth discussion, even though this administration was opposed. Perhaps if re-elected, President Obama will moderate this stance. Progress toward legalization will probably continue with the illicit drug most known to be a drug of choice among white people, marijuana, while drug enforcement will continue to account for most of the increase in imprisonment of people of color, particularly so for women.
When the U.S. modern war on drugs began, proponents of legalization in this country were leading self-identified conservatives too, notably William Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Milton Friedman.
At a time of high unemployment, it may seem cruel to want to put those in the drug enforcement industry out of work, but in this case, call me a fiscal conservative. Love and peace--hal