|Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes.|
|No More Violence|
"Mexico's policy doesn't end the problem, but worsen's it and makes it insolvable," Fuentes said, who supports gradual drug depenalization beginning with marijuana. "It involves opening an a subject area in which drugs are consumed but aren't a crime, and trafficking ends because it's not profitable anymore."
|Massacred migrants in Mexico.|
"We must seek alternatives," Santos added, "because narcotrafficking finances all the illegal groups."
|Juan Manuel Santos|
Those illegal groups include Colombia's guerrillas, paramilitaries and narcos, as well as the cartels which have turned some Mexican cities into slaughterhouses and created gangs in Brazil, Venezuela and the Caribbean. A recent study found that 40 of the world's 50 most violent cities were in the Americas. (Five of those cities were Colombian, Cali ranking in 11th place. Bogotá was not in the top 50.)
"This subject cannot continue being taboo," Santos asserted.
|Nicaraguan novelist |
For a really strong statement backing drug depenalization, read this statement on the Colombian presidential website. It's striking to me. A position which used to be only whispered in hallways is now out in the open. But will policy follow reasoning?
"Colombia has perhaps been the nation which has suffered most fighting against narcotrafficking. It's cost us our best leaders, journalists, judges and police."
|A Botero painting |
"Take the profits away from organized crime, and maybe take these profits for the state in order to carry out campaigns against consumption, are some practical solutions, which I believe that if adopted on an international level could be effective," Santos said.
Not long ago, these were radical opinions seen only in alternative publications. But here they are expressed by a conservative president of one of the nations which has made the greatest efforts and suffered the most in the War on Drugs.
If some of the novelists and other writers who attended the Hay Festival have their way, perhaps drug decriminalization will change from fiction to fact.
Here's El Tiempo newspaper's editorial: Drug's Legalization and Taboos
By Mike Ceaser of Bogotá Bike Tours