Guatemala President Perez Molina's Legalization Crusade Deserves International Support

Now is a crucial moment for drug policy reform.  For the first time ever, leaders across Latin America are coming together in support of legalization, discrediting the United States' argument that drug production abroad causes American consumption, and demanding change to relieve their suffering under black market rule. Just this Tuesday, for example, Colombian newspapers reported that President Juan Manuel Santos is crafting legislation to legalize personal possession of drugs. 

Riding out this momentum, legalization will make its historic, first-ever appearance at the Summit of the Americas this April. Encouraging nations to participate in the debate and support the end of prohibition is a petition that has already garnered more than 5,800 signatures.

The petition backs Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina, who not only began discussing legalization shortly after taking office in January, but has also  embarked on an unprecedented mission to rally support for ending Drug War: Vice President of Guatemala, Roxana Baldetti, has toured the proposal in the region, hitting Panama, Costa Rica and Salvador this February. What's more, Guatemala will join Colombia and Mexico, alongside five other Central American nations, to discuss legalization on March 24th. Then, Molina will present legalization for debate at this April's Summit of the Americas, which more than 30 nations of the Americas will attend. 

To support Molina historic initiative, thousands of people sick of disastrous Drug War have signed the petition -- endorsed by the drug policy reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) -- urging international leaders, including President Barack Obama, to participate in the debate. 

The petition says:

We fully support Guatemalan request to open a debate on drug legalization at the Sixth Summit of the Americas on April 14-15, 2012. President Obama, we urge you to not stall the courageous process initiated by Guatemala, and to allow a truthful debate to take place. We urge you to show the courage and vision to add your positive contribution to the debate. 
President Calderon and President Santos, we urge you to throw the full support of Mexico and Colombia behind the Guatemalan proposal. 
Presidents Martinelli of Panama, Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, Funes of El Salvador, Lobo of Honduras, and Ortega of Nicaragua, we urge to add the support of your countries to the Proposal advanced by the Guatemalan Government. 

Sign or read more about the petition here.  

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at March 14, 2012, 11:27am