- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
It turns out Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s statements on U.S. television hinting at drug legalization this week were a preview of his UNGA speech, in which he suggested "market alternatives" to drug interdiction and singled out the United States specifically. A full text isn’t posted yet so these quotes are all from my rushed transcription.
After discussing the Arab Spring, Calderon pivoted, saying, "We have to be aware that organized crime today is killing more people and more young people than all the dictatorial regimes in the world."
"More than ever, consumer countries, where drugs are consumed, must take effective action to radically cut demand. I will be told that this is not possible. That the demand for drugs continues to rise, as indeed is the case here in the United States, where nearly 30 percent of young people consume drugs. What is the solution?[…]
Consumer countries are morally obliged to reduce the vast economic demand. If you can’t cut it, cut the economic profist. You have to find how to staunch this this demand. Seek out all possible options, including market alternatives, so that drugs trafficking ceases to be a source of violence in Latin America and the Carribean and several African countries.
As if noted before, Latin American heads of state including Calderon’s predecessor Vicente Fox tend to become born-again legalizers after they leave office, perhaps since they’re no longer feeling the pressure from up north.
A sitting, center-right Mexican president making a speech in New York calling for "market alternatives" to combating drug trafficking would seem to be a pretty major development.