Spanish ex-premier calls for legalising drugs worldwide

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Spain's former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez Tuesday called for an international treaty to legalise drugs as a way to end the deadly wars between trafficking cartels.

"I think it will be our only way of confronting" drug trafficking, he told reporters at a reception for the Mexican ambassador in Madrid to mark the Latin American country's bicentenary.

Gonzalez, who was Socialist prime minister from 1982 to 1996, noted the consequences of Prohibition against alcohol in the United States in the early 20th century, when gangsters caused "thousands of deaths."

"When did this violence end? Not when they put the heads of the crime gangs in prison for tax fraud, but when Prohibition ended and the sale of alcohol was legal," he said.

He acknowleged that "no country can take this decision (to legalise drugs) unilaterally without an extremely serious (political) cost for its leaders.

"What is needed therefore is an international treaty that is respected by all," he said.

He noted the deadly consquences of the drug war in Mexico, "where between 350 and 360 billion dollars (generated by traffickers) can be found on the other side" of the border with the United States.

More than 28,000 people are believed to have been killed in drug cartel-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

Gonzalez said organised crime is "one of the most serious threats to security that that world is facing, not just Mexico."

He called for an international conference on the issue, while admitting that it was "unlikely ever to happen."

© 2010 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • malcolm kyle posted:

    on 15th September 2010, 15:32:51 - Reply

    The illegal drug trade is now estimated to be somewhere in the region of $400 billion a year ( equal to the defense budget ). This "former land of the free" arrests 1.5 million of it's citizens a year for drug law violations, half for marijuana alone, The majority of the 2.2 million inmates in the USA are incarcerated because of this insane drug war (Prohibition 2) at a staggering cost to all taxpayers and trauma to their families.

    Prisons have been filled to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for these so called drug offenders. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. These laws take violent criminals and turn them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries such as Columbia, Panama, Mexico and Afghanistan. The extreme violence on and south of the border is drug gangs fighting for turf in this lucrative business. The drug laws are also funding the Taliban whose illegal opium profits allow it to buy weapons and pay it's fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

    The definition of insanity is great folly, madness, extreme senselessness, lunacy. The present drug laws cause all of the above and may therefor be deemed insane.

    There will be many of you who probably fear a theoretical free-for-all, but that overlooks one major point: That's exactly the situation we have at the moment. Sure, there are laws against the possession and sale of these drugs, but they have no impact on actually restricting either one. When we allow such drugs to remain in the criminal market, they finance the activities of street punks, violent gangs, drug lords and terrorists. That's why there is now such an urgent need to legalize, which will not only allow us to properly regulate these substances, but also strip the illegal cartels of their main income.

    So please consider the following very carefully : It wasn't the alcohol that caused the surge in crime and homicide during alcohol prohibition, it was prohibition itself. That's why many of us find it hard to believe that the same thing is not happening now. We clearly have a prohibition fueled violent crime problem. A huge number of these violent crimes are perpetrated by criminal syndicates and gangs who use the proceeds form the sales of illegal substances to further even more of their criminal activities.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare. We have to regulate and we have to do it now!

    If you support prohibition then you're not only a black market profiteer, a sadomoralist, a socialist or a fake-conservative, you've also helped trigger the worst crime wave in this planet's history.

    If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you've helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

    If you support prohibition you've helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.
  • malcolm kyle posted:

    on 15th September 2010, 15:30:58 - Reply

    If it doesn't happen, then I may know who we can blame:

    One in every hundred Americans is now locked behind bars and one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As the prison population is growing faster than the government can build prisons, private companies see an opportunity for profit.

    The US government's outsources prisons and prisoners to the private sector. It is therefor in the interest of this sector to forcibly stand in the way of any criminal justice reform that would cut into their revenue, even if this results in sacrificing public safety or citizens rights.

    Here's a transcript of a 2008 PBS special:

    Though the average citizen does not know it, they very likely invest in the Prison-Industrial-Complex through the purchase of stock in the more than 2000 mutual funds in operation, as these derive at least some of their profits from inmate labor or prison construction. Companies such as Disney, General Electric, American Express, TWA, and Microsoft all make a portion of their profits from this industry

    The following link will show you the very close relationship between Prohibition and the Prison-Industrial-Complex:

    The fact is, prison-for-profit prohibitionists don't care! They don't care that, historically, the prohibition of any mind altering substance has never succeeded. They don't care that America has the highest percentage of it's citizens incarcerated of any country in the history of the planet. They don't care about spawning far worse conditions than those they claim to be alleviating. These despotic imbeciles are actually quite happy to create as much mayhem as possible. After all, it's what fills their prisons and gets them elected.

    Here's what the UK Economist Magazine thinks of us: "Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little"

    Here is a list of the organizations opposing proposition 19 - the legalized regulation of recreational cannabis for adults in California this November.

    Calif. District Attorney Investigators’ Assoc.,
    San Bernardino,CA,92415

    Peace Officers Assoc. of Los Angeles County.
    Los Angeles,CA,90012

    Calif. Police Chiefs Assoc.

    Calif. Peace Officers Assoc.

    Calif. Narcotic Officers’ Assoc.
    Santa Clarita,CA,91355
  • McD posted:

    on 15th September 2010, 14:59:27 - Reply

    "He called for an international conference on the issue, while admitting that it was "unlikely ever to happen.""

    Oh, I think he might be surprised.