Thursday, August 19, 2010

Border Dialogue: Vicente Fox Calls For Legalizing Drugs

Mexico's leaders are looking for ways to stop the drug
violence on the U.S. border.

President Felipe Calderon has summoned legislators to Mexico
City to try to reach some kind of consensus.

Ex-President Vicente Fox said recently that he favors
removing legal strictures against drugs in Mexico. He noted that legalization of certain drugs such as hashish and marijuana in Holland did not lead to any significantincrease in consumption of those drugs.

President Barack Obama signed into law a $600 million
appropriation for the border war on drugs last Friday. The measure would put 1,500 American troops on the U.S. side of the border.

It's one issue that is considered almost totally nonpartisan in an increasingly polarized U.S. Congress.

Part of a program begun in the Bush Administation to
strengthen and militarize Mexican resolve against narcotics
smuggling, Congress has appropriated some $175 million this
fiscal year and has budgeted $310 million in 2011 for the
purpose. Some 50,000 Mexican troopers are fighting in the
drug war which has claimed 28,000 lives in the past 6 years,
6,000 in the hotly contended drug smuggling epicenter of
Ciudad Juarez alone.

Knowledgeable observers say the net effect has been to
exacerbate the violence and increase the number of
campesinos cultivating such deadly illicit narcotics plants
as opium poppies in the mountains of the northern Mexican

The military has occupied certain problematic areas of the
northern tier of Mexican states, which forces civilian
population from the land.

Forced from the land where they once grew food crops at near
slave wages, desperate, they have been put to work by
organized crime growing such extremely lucrative plants as
coca, marijuana and opium poppies for refinement and export
to American markets.

Meanwhile, the presence of American police and military
advisors schooling Mexican troopers in the fine arts of
torture has led to widespread outrage over the past two
years among the Mexican population.

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