Print Edition: March 14, 2012
American Vice-President Joe Biden recently travelled to Central America to discuss the decriminalization of drugs. This has been a continuing debate in the last year for North America, and it’s fairly common knowledge that Mexico has been at war against drug cartels for several years. An end to the violence is far from over; I think we have received the message to stay off the beautiful beaches of Mexico as violence has struck even the innocent.
And although Mexico has been the main country mentioned when discussing illicit drug activity, Central America is no stranger to drug-related issues either. Mexico especially is looking for a new solution to get a hold on these issues, as they fear the possibility of the cartels taking over the country.
America has supported Mexico’s fight against drug cartels. This is logical, considering it is a shared problem; business deals often cross the US/Mexico border. As this debate has spread through the media, some say decriminalization is the only resolution to the rising violence associated with drugs. On the other hand, rather than a solution, this could be adding fuel to the fire. As Joe Biden recently advocated in his visit to Central America, the Obama Administration is on the it’s-fuel-on-the-fire side of the fence, and will not be supporting the decriminalization of drugs.
I have to agree with that; decriminalizing drugs will only increase usage. How would decriminalizing drugs act as a solution? I often question this tactic, as I believe it has no way of fixing drug-related violence. Drug organizations could only profit from this, as it will increase demand and deepen the pockets of the people who should be behind bars.
I understand the desperation that plagues Central American leaders as they fight for the safety of their countries, but I do not believe, by any means, that decriminalization is the answer. It may take more time and a lot more money, yet harsher punishment for those involved in could definitely be a start in ending this long war against drug cartels.
My opinion corresponds with the Canadian Government’s position against changing the laws on drug prohibition. Whether drug-related activities occur in Canada, the US, or Central America, serving a mandatory sentence feels like the best response to the war against drugs, offering immediate and severe consequences to anyone involved.