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Ex-Mexican President: End Bloody Drug War Through Legalization

Audio

Aired 4/8/11

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is against current drug-war policies, including militarization. Speaking in San Diego, Fox insisted that the U.S. and Mexico need to find a way out of the violence.

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2003.
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Above: Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2003.

— Former Mexican President Vicente Fox believes the current strategies employed against Mexico's drug cartels are not working and he is advocating a different approach.

Speaking passionately about the issue, Fox said he has a team of experts tracking drug-related violence in Mexico. He is concerned the government crackdown and cartel violence that has left about 34,000 dead in the past 4 years is also affecting trade, investment, and tourism.

Fox said he's looking at other countries for possible solutions. One is Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs 10 years ago and has since seen a 25 percent decrease in drug consumption .

"We might have an answer there because we have to separate the health problem (caused) by consuming drugs, and the crime and violence associated with it to distribute in the black market," he said.

His comments on drug violence and legalization were first published in the Mexican media a couple of months ago. Now Fox said he's eager to debate it with American audiences.

Fox said Mexico is losing young lives at an alarming rate as a result of the drug war. The fear and the violence is destroying Mexican society, Fox said. He adds that the U.S. has as much as Mexico at stake in the drug war.

He criticizes US officials for disagreeing with his push to legalize drugs and stop the violence.

"If they don't support (legalization), why then they don't (reduce consumption) of it? It's their job, it's their responsibility, and it's not happening," Fox said. "What I read everywhere is growth, growth, growth of consumption - in both sides, in Mexico and in United States."

Fox's successor, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, has waged a military fight against the cartels since 2007. The drug war is expected to be a top campaign issue in Mexico's next presidential election in 2012.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 8, 2011 at 10:23 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

I didn't go to this because I just didn't have time to get ready but more to point because it just would have p___ed me off. After defeating the "perfect dictarship" as Vargas LLosa called the PRI, Fox promised change to the Mexican people. I remember there was a certain euphoria in those days which lasted all to briefly. But then, once the novelty wore off, much of the promised change NEVER materilized or at least not in the way hoped for. Mexican media strarted publishing lists of Fox's promises next to columns describing the measures taken to address them. It did not look good. This country bumpkin president tried to run Mexico like a large business. Wrong.

It is easy for a former president to say of the incumbent, well I he should do this or he should do that. Fox had six years and why the idea never popped into this head before is beyond me! Knowing well that Calderon has staked the success or failure of his presidency in this 'War on Drugs," one would be tempted to question whether Fox's intentions are to split the PAN? Is there a possible PAN candidate for 2012 that agrees with legalization??? If so, be sure that Fox will support him. That said, ALL Americans should thank Fox for not kowtowing to Bush II and joining his "Coalition of the Willing" in the War on Iraq. Had Fox gone along, we would have had even more violence down south in the past years with Mexico inflitrated by Middle Eastern extremists seeking retribution and then the "Seal the border" nativists would really have something to cry about

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | April 8, 2011 at 3:03 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Legalizing drugs in Mexico and the US is not the answer. The current war against the cartel was lost a long time ago. A new one must be waged, one that includes direction from the military. The police are incapable of handling this form of war, and the cartel needs to be viewed as an army. Granted, an army of criminals, but still an army of soldiers sworn to protect cartel members.

So long as we treat them as criminals we will never be taking the fight to them with the strength needed to defeat them. Yes, drug consumption in Mexico and the US is the largest part of this problem, but the cartels need to be 'taken out' before we can address that.

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Avatar for user 'Vega01'

Vega01 | April 9, 2011 at 10:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

David65: This war has been at the hands of the military from the beginning, they are the ones failing. There's no need to continue violence anymore.

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Avatar for user 'Rudy52'

Rudy52 | April 10, 2011 at 5:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

You cannot defeat the cartels until you remove their source of money. You either arrest all users or you legalize. At least marijuana should be made legal. It removes their power by ending the cash flow. Without money they cannot buy people. According to all the figures I have read, marijuna supplies about 75% of the cash for the cartels. Even if they lose only 50% of revenue that would hurt them more that any police or military force has to date.

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