• 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

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

El Salvador Gangs Teach Honduras Counterparts Secret Codes

El Salvador Gangs Teach Honduras Counterparts Secret Codes

Imprisoned gang leaders in Honduras are receiving instructions from their counterparts in El Salvador on how to transmit coded messages, reported El Heraldo, highlighting the collaboration between gangs in the two countries.

Read more

Internal Displacement in Brazil: An Inconvenient Truth?

Internal Displacement in Brazil: An Inconvenient Truth?

As Brazil works to project the image of a nation that is effectively addressing security challenges in its major cities, one important indicator -- internal displacement -- is being overlooked. 

Read more

El Salvador Investigates both Sets of Gang Truce Negotiators

El Salvador Investigates both Sets of Gang Truce Negotiators

El Salvador's attorney general has confirmed that his office is investigating the actions of both sets of negotiators in the country's gang truce, suggesting there will be no more semi-official attempts at mediation with gangs...

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile