WASHINGTON – Former Mexican President Vicente Fox said that he’s in favor of the legalization of drug use across the globe because prohibitions “will never work.”
Fox reiterated his opposition to President Trump’s proposal for a southern border wall system, adding that Mexico currently does not “produce” or “consume” drugs significantly.
“We’ve been by the side of this nation working every day, every year, on security and safety issues. We do exercises, practicing exercises in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific with the U.S. Marines and the Mexican Marines, every year we do that, even four times a year, and we work, invest like we don’t do in many other things in Mexico to prevent drugs reaching this nation because Mexico doesn’t produce drugs, doesn’t consume drugs significantly,” Fox said during an event at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
“We’re doing the job, trying to be a good neighbor and a good partner for U.S. young. We’ve got 80,000 kids dying every year. Here in the United States, people say, ‘What’s wrong with Mexicans? What’s happening with them? Why are they killing each other? Are they drinking too much tequila?’ No, we’re working to prevent drugs reaching this nation,” he added.
Fox continued, “And what is happening here? You’re legalizing consumption so we pay the price of 80,000 kids dying every year and you legalize here. And by the way, I’m totally in favor of legalization. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this trap but that’s one of the NAFTA purposes – another NAFTA purpose was to bring competitiveness to the region because we do have, each of us, capacities, resources, that put together, we become competitive, the three of us [Mexico, Canada, U.S.].”
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “Mexican transnational criminal organizations continue to act as the biggest criminal drug threat to the United States and are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. These groups are responsible for much of the extreme violence seen in recent years in Mexico, as they have continually battled for control of territory.”
The DEA’s 2016 drug threat assessment said that violent gangs “affiliated with these drug trafficking organizations are a significant threat to the safety and security” of U.S. communities.
“These gangs receive deadly drugs like heroin from regional cartel affiliates and then supply them to American communities for profit, regardless of the human cost,” the report read.
Fox was asked to explain what he thinks the “global legalization of drugs” would achieve.
“Well, my position is based on ethics. It’s based on the belief of freedom and that every human being is created free and to use that freedom with responsibility. So governments do not have the right to impose behaviors or moral conducts on us, the people, and this is a principle of the Founding Fathers. Even God itself, from any religion, will impose dogmas and beliefs, but at the very end God let us be free, and we can spit on Him, we can go against Him, and he still respects our freedom,” Fox replied.
“So freedom is a very key issue on drugs. Now, the idea is not that you harm yourself, you harm your health or you die on a suicide through drugs. It’s moderation, it’s knowledge, it’s information, it’s prevention that works in the case of drugs,” he added. “But prohibitions don’t work, and will never work. It has to be understanding. It has to be information. It has to be conviction. It has to be building our own beliefs.”
Fox said legalizing drugs would create a paradigm shift.
“I have witnessed that. I’ve been in every market where drugs have been approved and legalized, marijuana or even other drugs, and I see this change of criminal and illegal activities into business, entrepreneurship and new industry, and it works and it works pretty well,” he said. “Even some people move from having been criminals to become farmers or become businessmen when the industry is legalized. So I’ve seen that it works and I’ve seen that having full respect for people’s freedom is an essential, ethical rule or philosophy that should apply to anything we do.”