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Guatemala President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina Praises Marijuana Legalization


Guatemala President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina in his speech Thursday before the United Nations General Assembly praised the marijuana legalization bill progressing through the Uruguay national government as well as marijuana legalization adopted via popular votes in the US states of Colorado and Washington.

The portion of Pérez Molina's speech addressing to the international war on drugs follows:

Since the start of my Government, we have clearly affirmed that the war against drugs has not borne the desired results, and that we cannot continue doing the same, waiting for different results.

That is why I add my voice at this time to the brotherly countries of Mexico, Colombia.and Costa Rica to declare the following:

"In facing the global drug problem, we must assess the internationally agreed policies, in.search of more effective results from the perspective of health, a framework of respect of human rights, and a perspective of lessening damages. The objective must be the society of welfare in all its aspects.

"Prevention must be prioritized, seeking to lower the impact on health and especially reducing the level of social violence associated with the drug problem. In the same vein, international cooperation should be strengthened to reduce the flow of illegal arms and funds that finance criminal networks.

"The new global strategy must surge from an open and inclusive debate leading up to the Special Session of the General Assembly of 2016. We salute the Declaration of Antigua of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) as a first step which leads us in the desired direction towards the Special Session of 2016."

I would like to add to this agreed text with the aforementioned countries a few words on.the part of my own Government. In the first place, Guatemala commends the visionary decision of the citizens of the States of Colorado and Washington that have led the way to an approach addressing drugs centered on public health, the prevention of addiction and violence, and full respect of human rights. We acknowledge President Obama for his wise decision of respecting the voice of the citizens of Colorado and Washington, to.allow these innovative experiences to provide results.

In the same manner, we respect and are proud of the example provided by President José Mujica of Uruguay in proposing legislation that regulates the market of cannabis instead of following the failed route of prohibition. I also must acknowledge the valiant and visionary leadership of the Secretary-General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, who has firmly promoted a climate of dialogue and reflection on drug policies among the Governments of the Western Hemisphere.

Without abandoning the path of international cooperation against transnational crime, each country must experiment with new models to address the drug problem. In that respect, my Government has decided to create a National Commission which will help us explore more effective means of dealing with the consumption, trafficking and production of drugs. We hope that the Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, to be held in 2016 will draw on these innovative experiences, and pronounce itself decisively for public policies that are subject to objective evaluation.

Pérez Molina had company in criticizing the international drug war before the General Assembly last week. Speeches by Columbia President Juan Manuel Santos, Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, and Mexico Foreign Affairs Minister José Antonio Meade Kuribreña also presented international drug war critiques.

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