MEXICO: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said in an interview with EFE that, although his position is against legalization, his administration is “very open” to a debate at the hemispheric level on the consumption and trafficking of illegal drugs.
Peña Nieto, who took office last December, also said that he had decided not to give up in the fight against violence in Mexico and to seal political pacts with the opposition that will facilitate governability and growth.
The Mexican president, who granted the interview to Efe in Panama, where he attended the Ibero-American Summit, said he wanted to put a new stamp on and redefine the scope of that regular forum.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Q.- The drug cartels in Mexico, despite significant arrests, continue to be very active. Do you have plans for a new strategy, knowing that for your predecessor this battle was a great political drain? What do you think about the proposals for legalizing drugs to combat drug trafficking?
A.- I reiterate that the Mexican state has the obligation and the duty to carry out a task that is inescapable and that it is the role of the Mexican state to provide security to the public and, the state will not give up in this aim, and even less so will it give up in the aim of reducing violence. If the figures that are coming out continue to move down, if we also manage to reduce other types of crimes, not only murders, which are those that generate greater violence, but others that harm social coexistence, the spirit, of Mexican society, if we really manage to get the participation of all levels of the federal, state and municipal governments in reducing the levels of violence, I think that we’ll be achieving the objective that we’ve drawn up and that all this will be seen to favor an environment of greater growth and development.
With regard to the legalization of drugs, my government has said it’s against that, but it’s also very open in the hemisphere, not only in Mexico, for us to have a broad debate that allows us to evaluate and review what’s occurring today in the hemisphere and in the whole world. Regarding the consumption of drugs, some of the soft ones, as they call marijuana and things of this kind, there must be a reassessment of the policy of the governments involved in this commitment to combat the trafficking and consumption of drugs. And I repeat, I cannot be in favor (of legalization) because I think that drug consumption, no matter how soft they are, leads in the end to the consumption of much more harmful drugs. What is clearly shown is that the consumption of any drug creates harmful effects on the health of a society. So, I can’t be in favor of legalization, but yes I’m very open to the debate and to us then making a joint decision – at least on the hemispheric level – that allows us to attend to this problem of drug trafficking and consumption.