Legalize Cocaine: The Real Way To End Drug War Violence In Colombia
Why does the United States insist on exporting violence to developing countries? Is it because our politicians pay little price for the human toll exacted by our failed social policies? Some 5.5 million American consumers seem determined to satisfy their appetite for cocaine regardless of the law, according to the 2014 UN World Drug Report. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of our 535 Members of Congress continue to believe they can end that market by doubling down on a war on drugs that includes sending heavy weapons and billions of dollars to client governments—many of them corrupt—to kill the people working to meet that demand.
Human Rights Watch estimates that 200,000 Colombians have died in drug war related violence. 60,000 have died in Mexico in the last eight years alone, a transit country our policies have transformed into a war zone. Perhaps the carnage could be justified if the four decades long war on drugs was working to protect Americans from the folly of their own consumption choices. But there is no evidence for this. Year after year we fill our jails, Colombians fill their graves, and nothing seems to change. America’s entrenched duopoly political system seems hell-bent on continuing—and even escalating—this failed war.
Thankfully, some of its victims are beginning to take matters into their own hands, seeking to opt out of the battle. ¡Verdad! (Spanish for “truth”) is a coalition of Colombian citizens working together to end the violence created by the drug war in Colombia. I had a chance to interview its soft-spoken founder, Daniel Raisbeck, at the recent 2015 Antigua Forum in Guatemala. (You can listen to the interview on YouTube here or download it from iTunes here.)
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