Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said he will propose legalizing drugs in Central America in an upcoming meeting with the region's leaders.
Perez Molina said in a radio interview that would include decriminalizing the transportation of drugs through the area.
The Guatemalan president said the war on drugs, and all the money and technology received from the U.S., has not diminished drug trafficking in the area.While the details would have to be worked out, he would also consider setting up legal mechanisms to sell drugs. I increasingly believe that some effort at decriminalization would be beneficial both to the people of Central America and the United States. On the other hand, I'm not convinced that the US government and regional governments could design some sort of effective policy. They would include too many loopholes and restrictions that would still make it highly profitable to operate on the black market.
It's also interesting that it is the Colombian and Guatemalan presidents who are suggesting this policy change. They are the leaders of two countries that have recently succeeded in reducing violence, at least when measured in terms of their murder rates.
Finally, maybe Otto Perez Molina does not believe that decriminalization is a viable option. In order to get the US's attention and action (lift the military restrictions in place that limit US cooperation with their Guatemalan counterparts and to get it to contribute more resources to battling narcotrafficking in Central America), Perez is raising the stakes of the game. This is just his way of negotiating. Now the US will have to deal or call his bluff.
And hey CBS/AP, the murder rate in Guatemala is not 45 per 100,000. That is so 2009. The rate is just under 39 per 100,000.