Saturday, June 25, 2011

A War of Failure

The global war on drugs has officially been declared a failure by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the numbers speak for themselves. From 1998 to 2008, the global consumption of opiates increased by 35%, cocaine by 27% and cannabis by 8.5%. This increased usage of illicit drugs, and the fierce battle to combat drug trafficking, has resulted in a upsurge of violence in many countries that serve as a conduit to the transportation of drugs from South to North America. Mexico, as it shares a border with the U.S, is a country which best exemplifies this sad reality. It has been reported that more than 34,600 have died since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug traffickers four and a half years ago. Puerto Rico, being a U.S territory, has also served as a gateway for drug traffickers who seek the lucrative North American market. Nearly half of the island's homicides are drug-related, according to local law enforcement officials.

Drug trafficking was one of the central themes which Gov. Fortuño brought to the attention of President Obama during the latter's recent visit to the island. Gov. Fortuño emphasized the importance in the cooperation between local and federal authorities in the "war on drugs," which many have long considered as a complete failure. One of these critics includes former U.S President Jimmy Carter, who recently wrote an Op-ed piece in the New York Times. He extolled the Commission's recommendations, one of which urges "to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who do no harm to others." Moreover, he has called for decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Politically, it is highly inconceivable that this would happen in Puerto Rico and on the mainland U.S, as a whole. Then again, when we've already begun to focus more resources on fighting drug traffickers, and at the same time laying off schoolteachers, it's time to forge a new way of thinking.

(Note: The image above was obtained from

1 comment:

Kofla Olivieri said...

This war on drugs has been a complete failure. Look at Piculin Ortiz, arrested yesterday, already sent to rehab. There are two kinds of justice in this world, one for the rich or those that have connections, another for the poor.