End the Drug War.

January 3, 2010

Two former officials in the government of Vicente Fox have come out in favor of ending the drug war, which is causing enormous harm in Mexico.

Their book, El Narco: La Guerra Fallida (“Narco: The Failed War”) was reviewed January 1 in the Los Angeles Times, “Book takes Mexico drug war to task.”

I met Castenada in Mexico in 2008 at a Cato Institute event, where he made a brilliant case against the current policies. He’s a very impressive thinker.

(Note: I also had discussions in Afghanistan about the disastrous impact of US and European drug policies on that country. The US government is causing tremendous harm worldwide through its drug policies. It’s time to end them. Now.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

JR January 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Dear Dr. Palmer,

I would also call your readers attention to the statements of former Colombian Attorney General Gustavo de Grieff. One of the best legal minds in Colombia and among the most respected of the country’s ex-Attorney Generals, he has been a consistent voice against the continuation of the drug war. Unfortunately, as has been the case with many such ex-officials, they became converts against the drug war after having prosecuted it for some time.

The below short interview illustrates a position that goes beyond that of Castaneda, and which is surprisingly widespread among the Colombian population, that the drug war per se has now become a business of its own. According to this view, it is not in the interest either of the governing elite or of the narcotraffickers themselves to eliminate something which has led to a sort of perpetual rent-seeking behavior among both groups.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/273/gustavodegreiff.shtml

I might note that the so-called libertarian organizations (Instituto Libertad y Progreso and Fundacion Centro de Pensamiento Primero Colombia, among others) present here in Colombia continue in blind-allegiance to the anything-but-libertarian President Uribe. While affiliated with Atlas Network , there is no mention made in their activities of the problems of the drug war. When I attended a Heritage Foundation presentation here in Bogota on their Index of Economic Freedom, the authors were clear that new property forfeiture laws were not taken into account in calculating Colombia’s score. This despite the fact that Colombia has confiscated more property since 2002, in terms of both acreage and value, under the pretext of the drug war than has Venezuela under socialist Chavez.

Unless Plan Colombia and the War on Drugs is confronted boldly here in Colombia, supply-side reduction strategies will continue to be exported to Mexico, Afghanistan and other such countries. The failure of Plan Colombia must be succinctly and finally illustrated, and thus far the General Accounting Office (GAO) http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-71 has made more of an effort than Cato or Reason in debunking the myth that the billions invested here have led to anything aside from years of unnecessary death and destruction.

From Colombia,

JR

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