[QODLink]
Americas
Guatemalan president says drug war has failed
Otto Perez Molina calls for research and dialogue, telling Al Jazeera strategy against trafficking needs to change.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2012 07:28

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has told Al Jazeera that the regional war against drug trafficking is being lost and requires new research, dialogue and a change in strategy.

"I find that crime, corruption and violence have grown in my country, while the cartels have spilled over from Mexico to Guatemala," he told Al Jazeera in an interview on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, on Friday.

Given his experience in combating drugs as Guatemala's intelligence chief 18 years ago, Perez offered a candid view when he stated that the so-called war on drugs was lost and called for a debate to discuss alternatives.

"Our institutions have been weakened. And this is happening elsewhere. So now I'm asking myself, are we doing things right? Do we have the right strategy? Or do we have to reflect and sit down to find new alternatives to fight drug trafficking?" he said.

Perez added: "What I am putting on the table here today at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena is a call for a debate, a dialogue, where we have statistics, studies, serious analysis of the subject.

"Based on the results, we must find new alternatives, not more of the same things that we have done for 40 years with results that clearly show us that we are not winning the war against drugs."

Perez is due to meet Central American counterparts on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit.

Regional debate

In March, at the instigation of Washington according to some reports, the presidents of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras boycotted a summit called by Perez in the Guatemalan city of Antigua to discuss his proposal.

Perez said then that any new strategy to combat rampant crime from drug trafficking must end the "taboo" against decriminalisation.

"We must end the myths, the taboos, and tell people you have to discuss it, discuss it, debate it," Perez said as he hosted the leaders of Costa Rica and Panama, and delegates from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list