Narco News Global Alert
MEXICO CITY POLICE CHIEF CALLS
FOR HOLLAND-STYLE DRUG POLICY
May 10, 2000, MEXICO CITY:
Manero is Police Commissioner for Mexico City. This text appeared
on May 10th in his regular column in El Universal, Mexico's most widely-read
newspaper, and translated to English on the same day by The Narco News Bulletin
A Three-Part Solution
By Alejandro Gertz Manero
The possible solutions to the drug problem,
if we accept the premises given in our last article about the
grave and irreparable damages that addiction and drug trafficking
produce in people and in countries, are the following:
The first has been applied to the hilt
in communist China and in ultra-right Singapore, consisting in
brutal execution, without tolerance nor exception, one of the
most Draconian policies that can be imagined: The death penalty
and the making of examples for any act involved in drug trafficking,
including ferocious punishment for consumption.
The results of these policies have flattened
the drug trade, to the point that in these nations the evil has
been eradicated at the root and has almost stopped being a problem
for their inhabitants and government. The social cost paid by
these nations has also been very high, since both countries are
known for their social intolerance and fierce authoritarianism.
And each one, with its economic limits has a common denominator
of repression and control that is inapplicable in a country like
On the other extreme are found countries
like the United States, Spain and other European nations that
are known for democracy, openness, liberties and general respect
for human rights: in these countries the trafficking and consumption
of drugs has grown exponentially and has become a true nightmare.
In the United States more than 20 million
people are daily drug addicts and the apparatus of production,
transport, storage and distribution that is needed to supply
this immense number of people daily has to be colossal, efficient,
sophisticated and highly productive, and it generates profits
much higher than those of the largest legitimate businesses in
the world. Faced with this overwhelming criminal apparatus, the
governments of these nations have lost ground day after day,
in spite of the economic and political efforts made by thousands
and thousands of people involved in this fight, from police to
judges and prison guards, and the untiring rhetoric that defends
this policy also fails daily. Nobody gets it right to correct
The production and transit countries for
drugs, like Cambodia, Colombia and Mexico, live with their own
hell, while their institutions are infiltrated by drug traffickers
and suffer a constant decay, their social structures brutally
erode without finding answers or viable solutions.
The third path has worked for countries
like Holland that try to end the economic pressures of drug trafficking
and recognize that drug addicts are ill, taking charge to allow
the free use of drugs by those addicts inside of a therapeutic
project, so that those who have irredeemably fallen into this
vice do not become instruments of the economic interests of crime.
This option has the merit of recognizing
a reality and confronting it in a scientific and social form,
and has provided small but satisfactory results.
From the three options, I believe it is
possible to design the one most viable for our country.
From the first would come legislation
that is fundamentally more effective with greater penalties that
establishes an efficient and well supervised vigilance in schools
and neighborhoods to eradicate drug commerce from these places
that are so important to the community. This would require taking
very clear actions on a police level to confront the natural
promoters of drug trafficking.
From the project of the more democratic
countries, we can use the budgetary support and need for health
programs and public education projects that permit the organization
of these tasks within the atmosphere of how the great majorities
prefer to live.
From the third option, it is indispensable
to rescue the fundamental idea of ending the economic interest
in drug trafficking, recognizing that addicts are sick and they
require a controlled dose of drugs, that lessens over time, and
medical assistance so they can recover.
The common denominator in this fight must
be to end the economic interest of drug trafficking while creating
conscience in the entire community about the damages of these
addictions so that the youth are protected to prevent them from
falling into into this evil.
more to come on this developing