Monday, January 5, 2015

Galán Jr. Vs. Galán Sr.

Senator Juan Manuel Galán stands in front of a photograph of is father, Luis Carlos Galán, who was assassinated in 1989 by narcotraffickers.
When presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán was assassinated in 1989 by a conspiracy led by drug cartel Pablo Escobar, Galán became a symbol of the fight against drug traffickers.

But today his son, Senator Juan Manuel Galán, is betraying his father's memory, some say. After
'...it was prohibitionism which assassinated my father...'
Sen. Juan Manuel Galán, in El Tiempo.
all, the elder Galán was murdered by drug traffickers. In contrast, the younger Galán is sponsoring a bill in Congress to regulate medical marijuana, and he advocates the legalization and regulation of all drugs, including cocaine.

But, in an interview in today's El Tiempo, Juan Manuel argues that, in a sense, it wasn't only the narcotraffickers who shot down his father in Soacha in 1989.

"With the passing of years, I've reached the conclusion that it was (drug) prohibition which assassinated my father," Galán said. "It was prohibitionism which fed the narcotrafficking mafias, making them feel strong enough to intimidate and corrupt the state and assassinate anybody who got in their way."

Agree with him or not, the younger Galán's viewpoint - and the very fact that it fits into the mainstream political conversation - shows how the drug control landscape has been transformed from the days when the War on Drugs and 'Just say NO' were the only policy options permitted.

Juan Manuel Galán predicts that eventually all drugs, including cocaine, will be legal and regulated. He may be proved right. But that day's still a long way away, and before it comes many more Colombians will be the victims of drug-related killings.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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