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Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Recognizes Drug War is a Failure

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

He is currently Director of the Center for the Study of Globalization at Yale University, his alma mater. He is also in the board of directors at the Inter-American Dialogue and Citigroup.

Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, who served from 1994 to 2000 under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), attended a conference a few weeks ago and recognized that the so-called drug war and drug prohibition are a failure. He said that the drug policy during his administration was determined by what he called “institutional inertia”.

At the conference, Zedillo said that unlike 40 years ago, there is sufficient evidence today to prove that “the strategy based on drug prohibition is an unquestionably unsuccessful strategy,” since its consequences include the loss of life and damages to public health.

“As President of Mexico, I am the first to recognize that when the various aspects of drug policy were discussed during my time in office, the driving force of our discussions was basically institutional inertia. That is, the inertia of the practices that had been followed from previous administrations, the inertia of what that we had agreed with other countries on this matter …”

When presenting an analysis of the drug war strategy, he acknowledged that during the 1990s there was no effort to visualize the serious consequences that the fight against drugs, and that it was not until 2005 that Mexico began to analyze such consequences.

He also pointed out that drug prohibition is the primary cause of the creation of an illegal market, for which he concluded that state is directly and indirectly responsible for the creation of it.

“[The State engineers] the creation of an illegal market, in which the worst elements of our societies will operate, of all those who are willing to incur extreme forms of violence to carry out their illegal activities”.

He stated that a correct drug policy should not criminalize consumption. Instead, he said, it should see it as a public health and supply-and-demand issue.

“Drugs should be regulated”, Zedillo said.

Sources: El Universal; Milenio


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