Mel Zelaya is no coward. Yesterday, before a UN delegation of 61 nations, he proposed his solution to the “war on drugs”: to legalize drugs. The last time he spoke to the UN, he had called for making the right to immigrate a basic human right.
That he should consider it at all is a testament to the dismal failure of the war on drugs. Narcos have the entire hemisphere hostage, and are corrupting entire nations between the fields of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, and the consumers in California and the rest of the United States. Every day in Mexico and Central America there are grisly crimes committed in broad daylight: beheadings, mutilations, torture, and recently a terrorist attack that targeted ordinary citizens celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day.
What would happen if drugs were suddenly legalized? We already have a model: the prohibition of alcohol in the US. The sale of illegal alcohol brought a great deal of profits to the mafia in the 1920s and 30s. When the prohibition was repealed, “coincidentally” some of the greatest bosses fell, but those who remained turned to other criminal pursuits.
The Mafia will not be dismantled by legalizing drugs, they will turn to organ trafic, the sale of humans for prostitution or illegal entry to the US. They will not go out of business, but will be dealt a serious financial blow.
Drug users will suddenly have both a temptation to become even more addicted, but also the de-stigmatization of their addiction. There will be many who might come forward to receive treatment, and others will get worse. In this we have also alcohol and tobacco as models of what might happen.
In the 19th century, when narcotics first emerged, it was even fashionable to consume cocaine. Coca-Cola was a cocaine-based drink. I wonder if they would return to it now! Billions of people would be even more addicted to it!
I don’t have an opinion about this. I do lean toward legalization a little, but the consequences seem too dangerous to my sight. However, in the meanwhile, the narcos are destroying much of what was once beautiful in Latin America. People are living in constant fear. Is that what world leaders want? Nineteen eighty-four and The Shock Doctrine come to mind.