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USA will only react to specific proposals on drug legalization
April 19, 2012
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Otto Perez (R), along with U.S. President Barack Obama (C) and Chile's Pinera (L), at the recent Summit of the Americas in Cartagena

At the World Economic Forum in Latin America, Puerto Vallarta, William Brownfield, Secretary for International Narcotics Affairs of the State Department, said "we will not react to concepts" in response to Guatemalan President Otto Perez.

U.S. will not react to concepts such as "harm reduction or decriminalization" of drugs, but to specific and detailed proposals, the Secretary for International Narcotics Matters, Department of State, William Brownfield said.

"We will not react to concepts, we will react to specific and detailed proposals," said Brownfield to AFP in reference to the discussion sparked by the proposal of the President of Guatemala, Otto Perez, to discuss the legalization of drugs.

The U.S. official participated in a closed meeting on innovative initiatives to help Latin American countries to reduce levels of violence stemming from the fight against drug trafficking in the World Economic Forum on Latin America, held in Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico's Pacific coast.

Brownfield said his government is very satisfied with the decision of the Summit of the Americas, held in Colombia last week, and called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to prepare an analysis of the situation in combating drug trafficking in the region.

"We are absolutely delighted" by the request submitted to the OAS to "organize an effort to decide where we, the 34 governments of the hemisphere, are at this time with our policies, our strategies and our laws," he added.

The diplomat considered that this will be a good start with a "database" to study. The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, proposed at the Summit of the Americas to open a debate without prejudices or dogmas about the alternatives to face drug trafficking.

The fight against drug trafficking has cost tens of thousands of deaths in Latin America, not only by the violent repression against the cartels and the struggles between them, but also why it has unleashed the consumption of cocaine base paste in cities.

The debate has spread to U.S. public opinion, where 50% of the population would agree to legalize marijuana, according to surveys conducted in that country. "Even President Obama is ready for discussion, (but) unfortunately the U.S. bureaucracy is poorly prepared" to deal with this debate, said Ethan Nadelmann on their side, the Alliance for a Drug Policy.

The specialist reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and other public agencies do not "have a strategy, not seriously consider" other proposals because for 45 years they have been applying the same measures to combat drug trafficking. The intent of any official to explore other options affect your career, so they "remain blind," he said.

Nadelmann made some suggestions in the forum where Brownfield was, most notably for the sale of marijuana and alcohol, with regulated access and education for young people.

The legalization of cocaine and heroin, he said, will be politically impossible for a long time, but with the legalization of marijuana we can reduce crime rates, violence, arrests and black markets, he argued.

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Given this, Brownfield said raising issues like the legalization "is for everyone, for children six or seven years, 16 years or over 21? Who is responsible for the sale of marijuana? No license or license, and who is responsible for giving out the licenses? ".

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