Latin American commission proposing treatment of drug use as public health issue

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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis. You are free to disseminate this information, but we request that you credit NAFBPO as being the provider.

El Universal (Mexico City) 2/12/09


Legalization of drug use proposed. 

                A report, Drugs and Democracy, toward a Change of Paradigm, by members of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy — made up of 17 members, including the ex-presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia — proposed considering the legalization of drug usage in the region.  The position is that in Latin America, the war against drugs has been lost, in light of the policies applied in the last 30 years, and it is urgent to redefine the regional strategy starting from evaluating the legalization of the use of marihuana, strengthening the treatment of addicts and beginning a relentless fight against the organized crime that has infiltrated the institutions.  The Commission points out that with the arrival of Barak Obama as President of the United States, it is the time to bring this theme to debate, considering the failure of the prohibitive policies imposed by that country, as in Colombia where they have had a high cost with little results.

                In the report’s section, “The Lost War,” the diagnosis indicates that “prohibitive policies” like the repression of production, interdiction of traffic and distribution and criminalizing of use has not given results.  “We are even further than ever from the proclaimed objectives of eradication of drugs,” the report points out.

                Latin America is the world’s major exporter of cocaine and marihuana, a growing producer of opium and heroin, and beginning to produce synthetic drugs, while the level of drug consumption in the region is expanding.  The growth of violence and the corrupting influence of organized crime in political institutions is “unacceptable,” particularly in police organizations charged with maintaining law and order, the report states.

                The Commission proposes to treat drug use as a public health issue, reduce consumption through information and prevention, and concentrate on the repression of organized crime.  Their focus is “not on drug tolerance,” but on organized drug trafficking, which can “only be fought effectively if its sources of income are substantially weakened.”


Central American attorneys general, meeting yesterday in San Jose, Costa Rica, warned that the Mexican drug cartels have enough money to penetrate political institutions in their countries to assure that the zone is secured by the violence that drug trafficking brings.  The meeting of the AGs, aimed at combating organized crime, saw the Mexican cartels, especially the Sinaloa, Gulf and Los Zetas, as infiltrating the Central American countries’ security and judicial structures.



El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 2/12/09


The Chief of Customs at Guadalajara’s International Airport was abducted and held for several hours Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Cecilia Antillan Rosas and her driver, an active AFI [equiv. FBI ] agent were intercepted and abducted by armed men in two vehicles with license plates from the state of Colima.  They were driven around for about three hours before being released at the Chief’s home.  During those hours, she was threatened by at least eight armed men for the purpose of persuading her to “allow cargo” or there would be reprisals against her.  In recent days, important seizures of drugs have been made at the airport.



El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 2/12/09


The Chief of homicide investigations for the Nuevo Leon State Police was assassinated while on duty in an official vehicle by several gunmen in Monterrey.  He was hit by more than 14 impacts from firearms.  The detective was in charge of a number of investigations into organized crime.



Novedades de Quintana Roo (Cancun, QR) 2/12/09


A federal judge ordered the ex-secretary of Public Security of Cancun, Francisco Velasco Delgado, alias “El Vikingo,” to be placed under arrest for his possible participation in the murders of retired Army General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones and two of his escorts.  The murders, February 3, were presumably carried out by Los Zetas.  “El Vikingo” is suspected of long association with organized crime in the area and giving protection to Los Zetas.  According to SIEDO [equiv. DEA], Los Zetas have the mission to assassinate any members of the Armed Forces believed to be obstructing the activities of the cartel.



El Debate (Sinaloa) 2/12/09


As an alternative option to the traditional tourist excursions in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, the “narcotour” has appeared.  Because it is not officially approved, the attraction is a clandestine tour of sites related to narcotraffic events of the past, such as where drug-related assassinations have occurred or pointing out properties of members of organized crime.  One of the most popular sites is the place where Ramon Arellano Felix was gunned down.  Other points along the way are areas where the most violent gun battles have occurred.  Because of the negative aspect of the tours, they are not allowed to be openly advertised, but are suggested by taxi and jitney drivers, and other forms of tourist transportation.  Some hope the tours will add to the tourist city’s economy.



-end of report-




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