• Connect with us on Linkedin

Guatemala President Claims Drug Reform Would Cut Violence in Half

  • Written by Marguerite Cawley
  • Thursday, 24 January 2013
President Perez at the World Economic Forum 2013 President Perez at the World Economic Forum 2013

Guatemala’s president has claimed that reforming prohibitionist drug laws would reduce violence in his country by 50 percent, as he presented his plans for drug policy reform at the World Economic Forum.

Linkedin
Google +

Speaking at a press conference in Davos, President Otto Perez Molina stated that 40-50 percent of crime in Guatemala is linked to drugs, and that changing drug laws would cut the violence associated with the trade, reported Prensa Libre. According to the president, his administration is already in the process of reducing the "other 50 percent" of the country’s violence.

Perez repeated his calls for science-based regulatory laws for different drugs, backed by social and education programs. Among other potential changes mentioned by Perez was the possibility of legalizing poppy cultivation in northern Guatemala for legitimate uses, reported elPeriodico.

The president also expressed frustration that current prohibitionist policies in the "war on drugs" diverted funding from social programs.

Perez announced plans to bring together businessmen, political leaders and intellectuals to discuss the issue at an international summit to be held in Tikal, Guatemala, in eight months time, Siglo 21 reported.

A United Nations conference planned for 2014 will also take up the debate over drug policy reform.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Guatemalan president, who recently completed his first year in office, raised the idea of drug decriminalization within the first month of his presidency, and has since continued to advocate for change, with some support from figures like former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Perez's analysis that much of the region's violent crime is linked to the drug trade is undoubtedly true, although it is unclear what the source of his 50 percent figure is. It is also true that countries such as Guatemala will struggle to control violent crime while the drug trade remains a lucrative source of income for competing criminal groups.

However, as InSight Crime has previously noted, the decriminalization of drugs could actually lead to a short-term increase in violent crime as criminal organizations would be forced to turn to other sources of criminal income and the competition for dwindling resources would increase.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Most Read

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

As part of a tax evasion investigation, El Salvador prosecutors have seized documents and searched properties belonging to Texis Cartel leader "El Chepe Diablo" and two key business partners, in a sign that the elusive...

Read more

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The release of Rafael Caro Quintero from a Mexican prison in August 2013 was a blow to US-Mexico relations, the reputation of the Mexican justice system, and the drug war.

Read more

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

More details have emerged on the transport and seizure of a record seven tons of cocaine at the Colombian port of Cartagena, revealing that the shipment, bound for Europe, also involved Mexican cartels.

Read more