We the undersigned write to express our support for the national days of protest against the drug war in Mexico.
These popular mobilizations are inspired by the senseless killing of Juan Francisco Sicilia, whose father, renowned Mexican poet Javier Sicilia Falcon, has called for a national movement to demand an end to the war on drugs.
The war on drugs has not just failed to prevent drug misuse or disrupt illicit drug flows into the United States. It has also generated violence, crime, corruption and violations of human rights far exceeding what Americans experienced during the years of alcohol Prohibition. Nearly 40,000 people have died in Mexico in the last four years as a result of failed prohibitionist policies. Many have been entirely innocent of any involvement in the drug trade.
We join this popular movement in calling for a new strategy. On the part of Mexico, this must include critical reforms to strengthen the justice system, ensure police forces are effective and accountable, limit the role of the military in police functions, and prosecute human rights abusers in civilian rather than military courts.
We also believe that the United States has the ability to significantly reduce the power and influence of violent criminal organizations that profit from drug prohibition and terrorize Mexican society.
The United States must better enforce its own laws to impede the flow of arms to criminal organizations.
The United States must also shift its budgetary priorities toward effective demand reduction programs while significantly reducing or even eliminating futile, wasteful and harmful supply-side programs such as aerial fumigation and military aid. Where military aid is employed, it should only be done in a manner consistent with human rights and Mexican sovereignty.
More fundamentally, the United States must reform its failed prohibitionist drug policies so that drug markets can be effectively regulated, and so that violence, corruption, assassinations and the degradation of Mexico’s fragile democratic institutions can be prevented or reduced.
We agree with Mr. Sicilia Falcon when he recently said, “We have to subject [drugs] to the ferocious laws of the market and treat their consumption as a public health matter.” As a first step, we believe that marijuana – which reportedly is the leading source of profit for Mexico’s traffickers – should be legally taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.
Above all, we call upon the United States, Mexico and the international community to begin an open, honest and public debate about remedying the failures of drug prohibition. Out of respect for the people of Mexico, who have borne the highest cost of this war’s failure, we must put all options on the table for a new strategy.
Drug Policy Alliance
And joined by the following organizations:
For live blog with analysis and updates several times a day, visit: http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/.
View the open letter in Spanish.