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December 11, 2016

Nobel Peace Prize winner suggests that drug war may be most harmful of all wars currently being waged, combines

The BBC News account of this weekend's Nobel Prize awards highlights a notable comment from a notable Nobel laureate.  The article is headlined "Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for 'rethink' of war on drugs," and here are some excerpts:

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to "rethink" the war on drugs. He said the zero-tolerance policy might be "even more harmful" than all the other wars being fought worldwide.

Mr Santos's government and the country's biggest rebel group, the Farc, signed a peace deal last month.  Bob Dylan, the first songwriter ever to receive the Nobel literature prize, did not collect his award in person. He received a standing ovation nevertheless.

The conflict with the Farc rebels in Colombia has killed more than 260,000 people and left millions internally displaced. Accepting the prize for his efforts in the peace process, Mr Santos paid tribute to the families of victims of the conflict. He said the "great paradox" of peacemaking was that "the victims are the ones who are most willing to forgive, to reconcile and to face the future with a heart free of hate".

In a deviation from his prepared remarks, he asked the representatives of the victims present to stand and be recognised for their own efforts in the peace process, to much applause. He previously pledged to donate the prize money -- eight million Swedish krona ($925,000) -- to help the conflict's victims. "I have served as a leader in times of war -- to defend the freedom and the rights of the Colombian people -- and I have served as a leader in times of making peace," he said. "Allow me to tell you, from my own experience, that it is much harder to make peace than to wage war."

Mr Santos said it was "time to change our strategy" on drugs, and that Colombia had "paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices" in the so-called war on drugs. The term, coined by US President Richard Nixon more than four decades ago, refers to US-led efforts to stop drug production at its source. In Latin America this has included on-the-ground policing, and fumigation of coca fields from the air.

"We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community," he said. "It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.

"The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined."

December 11, 2016 at 07:29 PM | Permalink

Comments

The Drug War is not some mistake. It is a lawyer profession operation in big government rent seeking, producing massive transfers of tax moneys to its members. It was declared by a white lawyer. It was maintained by white lawyers. It will be preserved and prosecuted by white lawyers. As an operation to steal tax money and to return nothing of value, it is itself a great crime.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 11, 2016 8:52:10 PM

The Nobel Peace Prize winner says: ""We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community," he said. "It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.
"The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined."

I agree completely agree.

Posted by: Michael Levine | Dec 12, 2016 9:29:10 AM

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