Pubdate: Tue, 29 May 2001
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX)
Copyright: 2001 Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Author: Robert Sharpe of the Lindsmith Center
Bookmark: (Peruvian Aircraft Shooting)


Regarding your thoughtful April 25 editorial, the deaths of two innocent 
members of an American missionary family in Peru should serve as a wake-up 
call. Autocratic former president Alberto Fujimori practiced a 
scorched-earth campaign against Peru's Shining Path guerilla movement, a 
movement financed by black-market coca profits. Allegations of corruption, 
rampant human rights violations and civilian deaths are remarkably similar 
to the current situation in Colombia.

How many innocent Peruvians have been sacrificed at the altar of America's 
drug war?

As Peruvian coca production has gone down, Colombian coca production and 
domestic methamphetamine production have both gone up, along with the U.S. 
incarceration rate, now the highest in the world. When will the champions 
of the free market in the U.S. Congress acknowledge that immutable laws of 
supply and demand render the drug war a costly exercise in futility? Right 
now, kids have an easier time buying pot than beer. Drug policy reform may 
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are 
more important than the message. Opportunistic "tough on drugs" politicians 
would no doubt disagree.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C.
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