HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Governor Says Drugs Must Be Legalized
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Mar 2001
Source: El Universal (Mexico)
Copyright: 2001 El Universal
Author: Carlos Coria
Translation: The Narco News Bulletin,
Note: Headline by newshawk


The possibility of legalizing drugs like marijuana and of developing
programs to strengthen values and that each level of government plays
its respective role in the combat for public safety are the
fundamental factors for diminishing violence in the country, said
Patricio Martinez Garcia, governor of Chihuahua.

In an interview granted to El Universal, still with the bad taste of
the painful memory of the impact of a bullet in his head - fired by a
woman formerly of the police force - and asking, constantly, "Why
me?", the state governor rose to establish parameters to evade the
"decomposition" of society that generates criminal and violent acts
such as the attack against him.

Now a victim of this violence, but recuperated from the injury that
the ex-police officer Victoria Loya Montejano inflicted upon him, the
state governor recognizes that among the causes that motivated the
attack was the social decay that the country finds itself in, that
comes from the failure of authorities in the combat against
delinquency and organized crime, as well as the public's disinterest
in strengthening traditional values.

At the start of the interview, he warned about the failure of the
federal government in the fight against drugs and the obsolete nature
of the laws to punish this and other crimes. He also cited a society
submerged in post-modernism, with diluted values that impede its
consciousness of its role in the social fabric: "It leaves everything
up to the government."

The most serious problem, drug trafficking, is not attacked from the
perspective that it deserves, that is, establishing the goal of
reducing damage and choosing to manage the cancer that throws cadavers
and addicts into the streets of Chihuahua.

Still skeptical, Martinez Garcia admits the possibility that the
bullet that injured him came from drug traffickers and he asks: "Why?
And why me? I have no authority over federal anti drug laws? They who
made the decision to eliminate me were wrong, because it is not me who
has the ability to impede their work or their business."

However, the dramatic shock that he experienced and the painful
recuperation of his health have agitated and induced him to seek
solutions to the problems of insecurity in the country and this brings
him to flirt with visions proposed that are considered daring by some
conservative sectors of the government and society.

"There have been voices like that of the governor of New Mexico in the
United States, Gary Johnson, that establish that the war on drugs is
lost and that ask for it to be legalized. And this voice has not been
listened to, nor has his proposal been seriously considered. I believe
that this proposal must be studied seriously, because if the war is
going to continue being lost, with the deterioration of the life of
communities and even the nation, and with the deterioration of the
quality of life for the citizens of the country, well, then, "Where
are we heading?"

But it would seem that the recognition that the battle against
narco-trafficking is practically lost is how the regions that suffer
it see it. They see the blood running through their streets and the
thousands of addicts that it provokes, now that the federal government
continues monopolizing the constitutional prerogatives of its war. "If
the federal authorities have a monopoly over the war on drug crimes,
it must comply with its obligation and act within its own sphere of
influence, that is to say, the Nation."

This leads the governor to think in terms of the concept of federalism
(state control) of the means of combating against drug trafficking.
"Organized crime is a federal crime established by the constitution in
1917... This was good for society in 1917 but it's no good for the
society of the 21st century. This system of division of powers to
confront crime is a system that has already demonstrated that it
doesn't work. It has not functioned and needs to be changed."

Still, his role as a statesman and the experience he has had in the
business sector, as mayor of the capital, as federal congressman and
now as governor of the state, have brought him to rethink the
capacities of the anti-drug fight and the possibility of continuing to
lose the battle while making the problem worse.

"At this moment I would not ask that this monopoly that the
Constitution established in the combat against drug crimes,
established exclusively for the federal government, should be
eliminated or disappeared. No, the Nation should conserve it and
exercise it widely. Or, if they are going to share the obligation with
us and give us authority in this area, that they also give us the
troops and the budget to combat it... understanding that this evil is
not a state or national ill but a continental one."

Governor, are you afraid that narco-trafficking and corruption have
taken hold inside the federal government?

"I believe that to say 'yes' or 'no' would be overly simplistic. I
believe that the question implies the position of all citizens before
this class of powers that have a lot of money and a lot of lead."

"Maybe an option to get out of this political and social degradation -
and until now it has not been spoken of much in our country and other
large drug markets that cause the production of drugs - is the
promotion of social, religious and family values that establish firmer
bases so that the population can assume its responsibility and
consciousness of the decisions over what paths our respective
communities will follow."

And he recognizes: "The reality is that the disintegration of society
and of the family is moving rapidly. It cannot be that the society of
the 21st century will bring us to the bottom of the sewer and bring
the garbage with it," said the Chihuahua governor.

The gambit of the government headed by Patricio Martinez is precisely
the educational promotion of family, civic and spiritual values.

"We have a growing program in Juarez City of cooperation with the
authorities of El Paso, Texas, called "For a life within the law."

And he hastens to explain its reasoning: "It's a holistic and
humanistic education that brings men, women and children to know their
society in the best of terms of living together with others. This is a
permanent work that doesn't end, but that began with this government
that invested and continues investing in it." The change, he says,
will come from an integral view of society in which the citizens act
with full conscience of what kind of society they want to form, and
the government, with the legislators, will take charge of the rest.
"The problem of public safety is not a problem of cops and robbers. It
is a problem for all society. There are voices that say that the
government is to blame for the violence."

"There has to be a remaking of the law. The legal statutes must be
updated with the same dynamism that is found in the social reality. It
is necessary to constantly adjust the laws and that the legislators
make law in harmony with reality, and that they create a new vision
responsibly. There is a great movement within society and a very slow
one in the effort to update the rules that govern the life of that
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