Unas escenas y comentarios desde Bogota, Colombia.
Scenes and commentaries from Bogota, Colombia.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
A Drug Warrior Reconsiders
Ernesto samper: New thinking on the
War on Drugs.
As President of Colombia from 1994 to 1998, Ernesto Samper carried out the good fight against the drug trade, thru interdiction, imprisonment and erradication.
Now, he believes that war was a failure, and has written a book calling for change.
His book, 'Drugs: Prohibition or Legalization, a New Proposal,' doesn't appear to break much new ground. Samper argues that prohibition enriches criminal cartels and that limiting the supply of one drug just pushes users to other drugs. Decriminalization and regulation, he says, would reduce the damage. The United States' obsession with prohibition, Samper says, is similar to a religion.
Samper wants to starts by legalizing marijuana, and then evaluate other drugs on a case-by-case basis.
The real significance of this book is the author's perspective. Samper governed Colombia during some of the worst years of drug cartel violence. He also came to know first-hand the prohibition's corrosive effects on society when it was revealed that the Cali drug cartel had contributed some $6 million to his campaign. Altho there was little question about the illegal money, Samper himself was not finally convicted. Still, the scandal soiled his and Colombia's international image.
Samper joins a growing list of Colombian politicians who recommend a rethinking of prohibitionist policies, including fellow ex-presidents Cesar Gaviria and Andres Pastrana, and even current Pres. Juan Manuel Santos. The list is only likely to continue growing longer.
But, in this war, the politician in the White House is the one whose views really matter.