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Narco News 2001

February 15, 2001

Carlos Fuentes Speaks

on Friday's Bush-Fox Summit

"There is only one solution to this terrible scourge that affects us all: legalize the use of drugs, or decriminalize it"

Carlos Fuentes, award-winner writer and philosopher ("The Old Gringo," among other titles), offered his advice to Presidents George W. Bush, of the United States, and Vicente Fox, of Mexico, when the two meet in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Friday.

Fuentes, in a February 9th column in the national daily Reforma of Mexico City, cited the drug issue as one of the major agenda items of the presidential summit - Bush's first foreign policy trip as president.

Fuentes called, as most Mexican leaders do, for, "eliminating the insulting annual certification and de-certification process," saying that it "would be the first step towards improved anti-narcotics collaboration."

But the Panamanian-born Fuentes, a naturalized Mexican citizen, went even further in his counsel: "The importing country (the US and its forty million drug addicts) cannot judge or condemn the countries (Colombia and Mexico) that are merely responding (Long live the free market!) to U.S. demand."

And Fuentes cited Fox's own Secretary of State Jorge Castaneda (who like US Secretary of State Colin Powell, at last summer's Republican National Convention, has sharply criticized the war on drugs), in offering a way out of the bi-lateral narco-trafficking problems. "Beyond this outrageous oversimplification," said Fuentes, "lie the proposals Jorge G. Castañeda put forth some time ago: we should evaluate what has worked and what hasn¹t worked in current policies and think about how markets and pricing mechanisms could make trafficking less lucrative, thereby reducing profits and corruption."

"U.S. demands regarding drug lords and their mafias in Mexico should be matched by (hitherto weak) U.S. action against the drug lords and the mafias in the United States."

"In the end," concluded Fuentes, "as I see it, there is only one solution to this terrible scourge that affects us all: legalize the use of drugs, or decriminalize it. The problem is that this must be, without exception, a global decision. The advantage is that, although there will continue to be drug addicts, no one will get rich on their misfortune. When Franklin D. Roosevelt ended prohibition against alcohol in 1932, there were still drunks, but the Al Capones disappeared."

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