“Prohibition didn’t work in the Garden of Eden. Adam ate the apple”

Those were the words of an Ex president who had a historically win over a system that ruled Mexico for over 70 years.  He was the Obama for Mexico on 2000. He represented the kind of Change people were hungry for. They were tired of years of corruption, violence and money sacking. Fox’s campaign slogans were “¡Ya!” (“Right now!”), “Ya ganamos” (“We’ve already won”) and “Vota Alianza por el Cambio” meaning “Vote for Alliance for Change”. He won the presidential election with 43% (15,989,636 votes) of the popular vote.

Yet in his six years of presidency he fell short on many promises he made on his campaign and managed to anger media, people and other presidents as he made many controversial comments.

It seems that after 5 years since his retirement as President of Mexico, he still has a quick tongue.

On a TIME magazine interview yesterday, Fox said:

“We have to take all the production chain out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of producers — so there are farmers that produce marijuana and manufacturers that process it and distributors that distribute it, and shops that sell it… I don’t want to say that legalizing means that drugs are good. They are not good but bad for your health and you shouldn’t take them. But ultimately, this responsibility is with citizens.”

As Mexico drowns in drug related bloodshed — suffering almost 12,000 murders in 2010 — it is perhaps unsurprising that government critics turn up their screaming that the war on drugs isn’t working. But it was a bit of a bombshell when former president Vicente Fox added his voice to the chorus. The cowboy-boot wearing leader, had once declared the “mother of all battles” against crime and rounded up drug kingpins. But before he left office, he had witnessed the first big spike in violence as the narcos retaliated.  Now, in a recent interview with TIME in his hometown in Central Mexico, he explains that his views have moved on to the other end of the spectrum: favoring full-on legalization of production, transit and selling of prohibited drugs. Fox is most explicit about marijuana, but argues that the principle applied to all illegal drugs.

Under Calderón (current Mexican President), Mexican forces have made even more arrests, bigger seizures and record extraditions — winning praise and $1.4 billion in support from the United States. But each kingpin that goes down only appears to provoke more bloodshed, as lieutenants war with each other to take over turfs. In total, there have been more than 30,000 drug related killings in the four years since Calderón took office, compared to some 7,000 in the last four years of Fox. Such relentless murder, Fox argues, shows that drug war cannot be won through strength of arms.

“I believe that violence against violence doesn’t work. It only unleashes more violence and a conflict of the size we have in Mexico,” Fox says. “And it is not only in people’s income, in investment, but also in the collective psychology. There is fear in the country. And when you have an environment where there is no harmony, no peace and tranquility then no human being can make the best of themselves.”

Not bad ideas. But I wonder why he is so eager to talk about many prickly subjects now that he is out of politics? Does he really believe what he is preaching? or is he only trying to be the Latin Bill Clinton?

Before he ran for his Mexican presidency, He used to be the CEO of Coca-Cola Co in Mexico. As the President of Coca Cola , Fox helped the fizzy drink become Mexico’s top-selling soft drink, increasing Coca-Cola’s sales by almost 50%. It is a pity that he could not raise 50% of Mexicans out of poverty. Maybe he is yet to realize that running a corporation is not the same as running a country right?

And as for Legalizing Drugs…well  I think it is a matter if who ever is running the Drug business is willing to share the profits. Then it needs to be a regulated Legalization and a Drug Decriminalization. Take Netherlands and Portugal for example.

Wikipedia tells us…

The drug policy of the Netherlands is based on 2 principles:

1.Drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal matter

2.A distinction between hard drugs and soft drugs exists

In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to abolish all criminal penalties for personal drug possession. In addition, drug users were to be targeted with therapy rather than prison sentences. Research commissioned by the Cato Institute and led by Glenn Greenwald found that in the five years after the start of decriminalization, illegal drug use by teenagers had declined, the rate of HIV infections among drug users had dropped, deaths related to heroin and similar drugs had been cut by more than half.

Of course it is all arguable. Alcohol, cigarettes and Pharmaceuticals are also Drugs, recreational or addictive, hard or soft..all legal and all causing many social, psychological and health problems and all very profitable.

Yes, Adam still had the apple of the tree of knowledge and once expelled he had to decide for himself what was good and what was not.  But it was after all his choice.

Let´s hope that our choices are more aligned with self-love instead of self-gratification.

I´m Off

Read more:

Wonder Drugs That Can Kill
Legal drug trade
Drug liberalization
In Mexico, a Call to Legalize Drugs