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by Peter Moskos

August 11, 2010

"Presidente Fox? There are men here to see you"

The crack research-librarian staff here at Copinthehood Incorporated (aka, my wife) reminds me that President Vicente Fox tried to do something about drug legalization as president but then backed down under US pressure.

Indeed, I dug through the basement archives here in at 1 Copinthehood Plaza and dusted this off from the L.A. Times on May 3, 2006:
Mexican President Vicente Fox will sign a bill that would legalize the use of nearly every drug and narcotic.
The law would be among the most permissive in the world, putting Mexico in the company of the Netherlands.[*]
Selling drugs or using them in public still would be a crime in Mexico. Anyone possessing drugs still could be held for questioning by police [and fined]. But it includes no imprisonment penalties.
Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said Tuesday that Fox would sign the measure, calling it an important tool in the fight against drug trafficking.
Fox, whose term ends in December and who is barred by law from seeking reelection, has been considered a strong ally of the U.S. anti-drug effort. He has said the current drug war was triggered when he began arresting top leaders, including Osiel Cardenas, who allegedly runs the Gulf cartel from prison.
Apparently that night there was a knock on his door from some burly gringo men with dark sun glasses and briefcases. It wasn't the Blues Brother. MSNBC reported:
Weighing in, the U.S. government Wednesday expressed a rare public objection to an internal Mexican political development, saying anyone caught with illegal drugs in Mexico should be prosecuted or given mandatory drug treatment.

“U.S. officials ... urged Mexican representatives to review the legislation urgently, to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated in Mexico, and to prevent drug tourism,” U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Judith Bryan said.

Apparently Fox got an offer he couldn't refuse. Apparently to the tune of four-hundred-million US dollars a year for at least four years.

At the time, Fox was worried about 650 to 700 drug-war deaths a year. But the bill died and the war on drugs got ramped up. Since 2006 there have been about 7,000 drug-war deaths a year (though nobody knows for sure).

[* If only Mexico could be in the company of the Netherlands. The Netherlands resists US pressure to fight the drug war and partly as a result has a murder rate just a fraction of the US and just a tiny fraction of Mexico's.]

1 comment:

Mesmerix said...

It amazes me that people actually believe the so-called War on Drugs is effective.

Excellent post. Thank you!