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Guatemala: decriminalization debate

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Decriminalizing the drug sector, as a way of reducing the violence generated by the war on trafficking, was the main topic of an address last week to the General Assembly of the United Nations, by Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina.

The issue of decriminalization needs to part of an ongoing debate, in light of the problems associated with the strategy of confrontation favored by the United States, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Central Americans, said Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera.

Among the plans, which need to be studied, is the regulation of hard drugs , such as cocaine and heroin, and the establishment of sales procedures for marijuana, including the option of availability by prescription.

Former Foreign Minister Edgar Gutierrez has been named as the spokesperson, to promote Perez’s initiative internationally.

Perez 's proposal was first presented during the 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

Since that time, it has met with little support from other regional leaders, as well as an emphatic "no" from Washington.

Nearly two thirds of the cocaine that reaches the United States passes through Central America, according to a 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service.