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April 2012
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Summit of the Americas this weekend

Should be an interesting weekend, as the President goes to Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas. The administration has been working for the past few months to downplay and sidetrack the huge issue that will be in the room – why Latin American countries are forced to endure massive violence in order to support the U.S.’s futile attempt to prevent people from voluntarily buying drugs.

This press conference yesterday spells out the President’s schedule, and also points out both the fact that the administration doesn’t want to talk about the real issues drug policy and the fact that others do.

In the press conference, Dan Restrepo talked about a variety of issues that the President will discuss, including a short bit about how much the administration is spending on the drug war and treatment. But the first question from the press got right to it:

Q: My question is about drug policy. Although it’s not on the official agenda, several regional leaders, including the Colombian President himself, has said they intend to take the drug policy debate to the next level at this summit and of course it surrounds the call by many leaders to urge decriminalization of certain drugs and also to have a focus on U.S. consumption and reducing U.S. demand for drugs. I’m wondering, what will be the U.S. position and how in-depth do you plan to talk about this at the summit? Thank you.

MR. RESTREPO: Josh, as you know, this is not a new issue in the Americas, nor is this an issue where there is a consensus among the countries — the rest of the countries of the Americas. There are — and as you’ve seen it in the course of the public debate over the last several weeks in the region — real differences of opinion on the question of legalization and decriminalization.

U.S. policy on this is very clear. The President doesn’t support decriminalization. He does think this is a legitimate debate, and it’s a debate that we welcome having because it helps demystify this as an option. I think that Cartagena provides a real opportunity to build on the conversation that Vice President Biden started in Honduras for the countries of Central America last month, where how is it that we can work collectively in the Americas more effectively to address the real challenges of crime and violence that societies — that too many societies are facing right now. There is no magic bullet in that debate as the challenge of — as the consumption of drugs spreads through the Americas, the response and the responsibility to address this challenge also needs to spread. And we need to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to build the kinds of rule of law institutions necessary to defeat these transnational criminal organizations.

I think very much — you’re right that the conversation — this will be part of the conversation in Cartagena. And we welcome the opportunity to go more in depth as to how collectively the countries of the Americas can more effectively address this challenge. And as to consumption in the United States, I think I touched on that in the introductory comments in terms of the investments and the national drug control policy changes that this President has made to address and to enhance treatment prevention and education as ways of driving down drug use and demand here in the United States.

A couple of questions later:

Q: Dan, you say that President Obama welcomed to have the debate on drugs, and even the Latin American President, President Santos, he seems to be open to the idea to decriminalize the consumption of drugs. So the question is — I mean, since you say that the U.S. position is very clear in this regard, what is the — I mean, what is the purpose? What is the penalty to have this dialogue, this debate in Cartagena when already one of the main players in this issue, the United States, doesn’t seem to be able to consider any future change in the government strategy?

MR. RESTREPO: I think that the important thing to bear in mind here is this is a shared responsibility, and it is one that you have an increasing number of capable partners in the Americas who can help confront this challenge. And I think the President very much looks forward to a discussion in Cartagena about how we can do better as a group to address this challenge. […]

And this is not a debate where one country is standing in a very different place than all of the other countries. There is a variety of views on the issue of decriminalization in the Americas. The United States is among the countries who does not see this as the solution and does not see it as a viable option because of the problems that come with it, and because it won’t end transnational organized crime, but that we are — that the leaders of the region will have an opportunity to further discuss this issue and see how we can enhance our cooperation is a positive thing that should help improve the lives of people across the region.

Dancing as fast as he can.

The questions aren’t going to go away.

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38 comments to Summit of the Americas this weekend

  • Curmudgeon

    Should be interesting to watch O’s footwork on this one. I hope the Latin American leaders hold his feet to the fire.

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  • claygooding

    The elephant in the room is not even being discussed,,,funding.

    These countries have neither the resources or political incentives the US has to continue throwing money in the hole.

    While the ONDCP budget increased by 30% next year funding to these countries was cut up to 60% and unless the US prohibition supporters make up the difference the discussion will be very interesting.

    Bayer,Phizer and Dow Chemical probably have money men on the way.

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  • Matthew Meyer

    “Enhance our cooperation” indeed!

    Meanwhile, Reuters has this article on Brazil’s borders:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/us-brazil-borders-idUSBRE83C0KB20120413

    Much of the slant of the article is to claim that Brazil has never really had to worry about its borders, which anyone who has studied the military dictatorship’s Amazon policy knows is not true–its slogan was “integrar para não entregar” (integrate it or lose it, basically).

    But it does discuss former President Cardoso’s views, and also contains this very interesting quote from a police commander on border patrol:
    “Asked why local smugglers haven’t organized themselves into Mexican-style cartels, Marinho raised his eyebrows and replied: “Could it be because we’re not resisting them yet?””

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  • claygooding

    “”And in fact, one of the signals of the success of democracy is the fact that we’re actually partnering with other countries in the region to promote democratic practices around the world. So you have — as I mentioned earlier, the United States and Brazil are co-chairing an open government forum that brings together dozens of countries to promote openness, transparency, anti-corruption measures and tools that strengthen citizens and advance the consolidation of democracy.””

    When does democracy kick in for Americans? Over 70% of America support legalization of marijuana for medical reasons and half of America supports legalization and our politicians refuse to even discuss it in congress,,,fine example of democracy in action.

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  • Matthew Meyer

    *CartAgena*, Pete.

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  • […] Trip to Summit of Americas in Election YearFox NewsHarper to push trade agenda at summitCTV.caSummit of the Americas this weekendDrug WarRantNew Philadelphia Times Reporter -Washington Postall 757 news articles » […]

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  • kaptinemo

    Dance all he wants, the CA and SA leaders have found the Achille’s Heel…and the arrow is speeding toward it.

    For a long time, so long as the CA and SA nations had US-malleable pocketed dictators, the script was pretty much automatic. Uncle Sam blew the policy whistle, they started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the prospect of receiving the funding to buy all the weapons and torture devices necessary to maintain themselves in power…while benefiting from US-enabled drug running through the paramilitary ‘good guys’ on the side.

    The ‘Arab Spring’ has been a lot in the news lately, but a Latin Spring over the past 10 years has gone almost unnoticed in the US…save by the USG, which is pee-it’s-pants scared at the prospect, as a Pentagon report made abundantly clear. The old autocratic regimes are being replaced with democratic ones…decidedly Leftist ones. Who know what superpower had been financing their former oppressors. And this has the corp-rat interests behind US policy scheming furtively to overturn such democratic regimes, as it tried in Venezuela…and embarrassingly failed.

    The CA and SA leaders know that US influence is waning, and have been forming alliances with the BRIC nations in order to create an economic order in which the US is not the center of gravity, and that has Warshington very worried.

    The only ‘moral’ trump card Foggy Bottom has left to cynically play is the drug card…which will also blow up in its’ face thanks to it being ‘common knowledge’ that the US is the biggest drug dealer on the planet. Prohibition is an absolute sham when the international banks are addicted to drug laundering money and need it to survive, and just about every Western nation is a debt-slave to them.

    Re-legalizing drugs would be a potentially lethal blow to the international banking system. The US pols who are in its’ pockets can be expected, right on cue, to robotically denounce the idea of re-legalization as being ‘immoral’, and tantamount to terrorism, when it is the banks and their puppet governments who in fact foster terrorism with support for prohibition.

    The CA and SA leaders know this. They know how the game works, having been spitted on the short, sharp and sh*tty end of that particular stick for decades. They don’t want to play, anymore, and this is their ticket out. And they are cashing it in.

    Obama will have to do some pretty fancy break-dancing to try to deflect what’s coming.

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  • Jake

    I expect the US to come out of this touting the “no consensus” line and then expanding it to fit their viewpoint – a viewpoint which they bought via aid and weapons… and round the circle goes yet another time.

    With Obama calling the drug war a “utter failure” just a few years ago, I wonder what he thinks in private and how he tries to rationalise not doing anything when deep down, he knows its wrong..

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    • kaptinemo

      “I expect the US to come out of this touting the “no consensus” line and then expanding it to fit their viewpoint – a viewpoint which they bought via aid and weapons… and round the circle goes yet another time.”

      Yes, that might happen…amongst Uncle’s dwindling number of sycophantic satellites. But that Latin Spring has proven to be quite resilient. The Venezuelan debacle left Uncle with several metric tons of egg on his face, and the other Latin American nations have been put on guard against similar attempts.

      Uncle has to rely on high-sounding rhetoric (and blood-stained moolah) to try to get his way now…and as I said, the locals aren’t buying it. The ‘bright, shining lie’ of drug prohibition has been tarnished irrevocably thanks to decades of US hypocrisy. Trying to use that now, in the face of all the evidence of Uncle’s perfidy in that regard (like ‘Fast and Furious 2″), and how Mexico has been made a killing field thanks to US egging on Calderon at the expense of the Mex people, makes the US position increasingly the minority one.

      As was said here long ago, the prohibs have a very limited number of lies to tell, and there’s only so many ways of telling them. And they’ve all been exhausted, here and around the world. The propaganda doesn’t work anymore, especially when you have national leaders signaling they’re fed up with those lies, and want to talk about something else…like the only logical way to end the madness.

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      • Jake

        I think one of the most resilient things here, unfortunately, is prohibition. I do hope you are right and that countries south of the USA don’t lose their nerve, get bullied into submission or experience further CIA-led coups… I wonder what would happen if a coalition of Central/South American countries all simultaneously denounced the UN conventions.. wouldn’t that be something!!

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        • kaptinemo

          Bolivia has already signaled intent, and the other nations are watching to gauge Uncle’s reaction, seeing as it was the US’s (and racist cracker Ansliger’s) baby.

          If that lynch-pin gets pulled, the whole thing will unravel quickly. It will lead to a policy train-wreck of the first magnitude, as all US drug policy is tied to that. The prohibs have always fallen back onto a default position that they couldn’t change domestic laws because (iritating nasal-voiced little kid whine) “We have a treeeeeeaty!”

          Well, if that treaty is abandoned en masse by whole geographic blocs of nations, what’s Uncle left with? Only his pathetic yes-men so poor or so corrupt that they need Uncle’s (dwindling) largesse to survive.

          Such nations are only tolerated for now by their neighbors; that may also change as that tolerance becomes open disgust as Uncle’s influence continues to wane. Colombia is already viewed that way by many of her neighbors, notably Venezuela and Ecuador, thanks to fumigation fallout crossing their borders and poisoning their lands.

          The only thing keeping many of those countries from engaging in open warfare is the US’s strategic positioning of bases throughout the area, in the same way Federal military bases were created in the Southern States after the Civil War, during Reconstruction. If those bases in CA and SA are dismantled or abandoned, as some of them have already been, when the 800 ton gorilla of the US is gone, I suspect some old DrugWar-sired grudges might someday be settled by force of arms.

          In any event, support for the DrugWar amongst the CA and SA nations is just as subject to the eventual balancing of powers that take place whenever a paradigm shift occurs, whether that shift is ideological or economic. Since both are involved here, the change is coming faster than Uncle ever expected.

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      • claygooding

        And the best way to avoid an unpleasant incident is to kick the drug warriors out of their countries,,as they have increasingly been doing,,any pools started for the first letters after the meeting to the UN for removal from their drug treaty?

        That would give Uncle Sam 6 months to raise the capitol and equipment,,not as easy a task as it once was.

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  • Cannabis

    The phrase “shared responsibility” means the U.S. government will give you all the guns and money that you need to kill your citizens while our corporations profit from the violence.

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  • to say “legalization a legitimate topic for debate” and then say “but legalization is not an option” is like a parent talking to an 8 y.o.

    Of course the problem is that the people with the voices calling for the debate are not 8 year olds. The ploy will not hold.

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  • Servetus

    The drug war offers the United States two final options.

    The U.S. can lose the drug war in a dignified manner by suing for peace, or it can lose the drug war Nazi style, by holding to its mission until it loses its ability to govern its people and influence world affairs. It appears Obama and Biden are choosing the second option.

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  • Dante

    “And this is not a debate where one country is standing in a very different place than all of the other countries. ”

    Wanna bet, Mr. President? All of the Central/South American countries are standing together on this. One (non-Central/South American) country stands apart.

    When lying becomes of monetary value, our government will pay off the national debt with one press conference.

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  • Obama’s White Complex: Where would I be today if I had been caught consuming cocaine in my youth?

    Obama’s White Complex Extension: Where would I (name your favourite scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, etc.) be today if I had been caught consuming cocaine in my youth?

    What about David Cameron, UK Prime Minister; former US presidents (Bush, Clinton, Carter (?)); Richard Branson (Virgin)

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

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  • As an European citizen who looks in horror at the heinous consequences Prohibition and the so-called War on Drugs policies have had on drug producing and transit countries, in particular Latin American ones, I cannot help but feel ashamed by the total lack of support shown by those European countries that have “quasi legalised” their demand for, as well as their domestic supply of, drugs?

    How come we haven’t heard a single word of encouragement, let alone support, from countries such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, among many others, which have de jure or de facto depenalised or decriminalised the personal consumption of some drugs? Or from those countries that allow users to grow a number of marijuana plants in their homes and for their own consumption, or tolerate the operation of so called “cannabis social clubs”, or authorise the cultivation of marijuana to supply dispensaries where consumption on medical grounds is allowed?

    I do not have any doubts that harm reduction programmes, decriminalisation or depenalisation of the demand for drugs are sensible and necessary policies. But if we were serious about tackling the so-called drug problem, we should be accompanying those policies regarding the demand with equally sensible policies towards the supply of drugs coming from Latin America—or from any other part of the world for that matter.

    It is disgraceful, not to say nauseating, to see that while Latin America is trying to promote the discussion—for goodness sake, they are just calling for an open and serious discussion— of current and alternative drug policies, we behave in the most cowardly fashion: we remain in silence.

    Our mutism is totally inexcusable, for in the final analysis the onus is on us, drug consuming countries in the developed world. We should be the ones promoting the Legalisation & Regulation of the supply. We should be the ones making all the noises calling for a change in the national and international legislation on drugs. We should be spearheading the movement seeking to legalise the production and distribution of all drugs.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

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  • claygooding

    B.C. Supreme Court justice strikes down section of medical marijuana law

    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/thewest/Supreme+Court+justice+strikes+down+section+medical+marijuana/6455182/story.html

    “”A B.C. Supreme Court justice has struck down a section of Health Canada’s medical marijuana laws. Friday morning, Justice Robert Johnston concluded that the restriction to dried marijuana in the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations is unconstitutional as it breaches Section 7 of the Charter of Rights. “The remedy for this breach is to remove the word ‘dried’ where it appears in the medical marijuana access regulations and I so order,” said Johnston.””

    Chip,chip,chip

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  • Peter

    OT
    Cristina Rad (one of my favorite bloggers) giving a christian prohibitionist the once over:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccHKHkNi0gE&feature=youtu.be

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  • C.E.

    “The President doesn’t support decriminalization. He does think this is a legitimate debate, and it’s a debate that we welcome having because it helps demystify this as an option.”

    Translated: “Keep talking all you want, you will never have as much money or power as the ones who want to keep the drug war going. We know which side our bread is buttered on, and it ain’t your’n.”

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  • claygooding

    Secret Service agents sent home from Colombia, involvement with prostitutes alleged

    http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/13/11190256-secret-service-agents-sent-home-from-colombia-involvement-with-prostitutes-alleged?lite

    Updated at 11 p.m. ET: A dozen Secret Service agents providing security for President Barack Obama at an international summit in Cartagena, Colombia, have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct.

    The Associated Press said it received an anonymous tip that the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute the allegation.

    However, the Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told the newspaper the accusations relate to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena.

    I guess the cops in Colombia didn’t realize that US federal cops don’t have to obey laws,especially anything to do with constitutional laws.

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  • ooopsie… darn those basic yet often oh-so-troublesome human urges!

    Obama’s Secret Service agents sent home from Summit of Americas for misconduct

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    • Cliff

      Way to set the example for our youths, Secret Service!! Obama must be so proud of his Praetorian Guard, thinking with their weiners instead of focusing on security matters and protecting him.

      One of them tried to stiff a prostitute, (rimshot) (ha). I wonder if he tried to use the, “Do you know who I am?” ruse to get free nooky.

      Well, at least they were drug tested and found to have no unacceptable metabolytes. So they have that going for them, which is nice.

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      • as prostitution is not criminalized in Colombia perhaps the SS felt empowered to enjoy w/o danger of violating local mores. If pot were not illegal in Colombia, hmmm…

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  • THE WHOLE THING IS A SHAM TO CONTROLL THE PEOPLE AND TO MAKE MONEY AND POWER FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

    THE GAME IS OVER THE INTERNET HAS SPREAD THE WORD AND THE TRUTH IS OUT OF THE BAG.
    9/11 WAS A RUSE USED TO COVER UP THE BANKSTERS CRIMES ON WALL STREET AND THE CONNECTION TO CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE.

    ALL THAT CYBER AND PAPER INFORMATION WAS DESTROYED ON 9/11.,
    MILLIONS OF TONS OF PAPERWORK AND COMPUTERS BURNED THAT DAY WITH THE PEOPLE INSIDE.

    LETTING THE TERRORISTS DO THIS WAS THERE WAY OUT.

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  • I WILL NOT BE SILENT ANY LONGER LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE TODAY.

    THE TRUTH IS OUT.

    I CAN SMELL A RAT I TELL YOU!!!

    I CAN TELL EVERY TIME!!!

    I’VE FOUND THESE BASTARDS OUT FOR MYSELF.

    ONCE I LEARNED TO READ THAT’S WHAT I DID AND I STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS.

    THAT’S WHEN ALL THE TROUBLE STARTED.

    THE COMMUNISTS REALLY HAVE TAKEN OVER AMERICA.

    THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS ACTUALLY COMMUNISM.

    THE CENTRAL BANKS OF EUROPE AND ALONG WITH THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM OF BANKS IN AMERICA HAVE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR EVERY ELECTION AND WAR AND HAVE MADE POSSIBLE FOR THE ASSASSINATIONS AND REGIME CHANGES ON PLANET EARTH FOR OVER 100 YEARS.

    FREEDOM FIGHTERS ARE GATHERING ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    JUST SAY NO TO AMERICA AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND THEIR WAR MACHINE.

    STAY OFF THE GRID., DO NOT SAY OR DO ANYTHING TO GET YOU NOTICED.
    STAY SAFE AND BE SECURE AND BE READY FOR THE SHIT TO HIT THE FAN.

    THEY HAVE ALLREADY STARTED IN EARNIST BUILDING THE ECONOMIC AND PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACES LIKE AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST TO BEGIN THE FUTURE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE NEWEST SLAVE WAGE EARNING TAX PAYING CITIZENS OF EARTH.

    THAT’S WHERE MOST OF THE 200 TRILLION PLUS DOLLARS REALLY WENT TO.,THAT THEY PRINTED TO SUPPOSEDLY BAIL OUT THESE BANKS.

    THEY ARE BUILDING UP THE THIRD WORLD AND AFRICA TO ENSLAVE IT TO “THE CORPORATION”
    a.k.a., THE NEW WORLD ORDER.,

    YOU DO TAKE ORDERS DO’NT YOU???

    REMEMBER THE NAZIS??
    THEY TOO WERE ALL JUST FOLLOWING THEIR “ORDERS”

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  • well, the Obama has spoken:

    Obama open to new approaches in drug war, but not legalization

    “I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are doing more harm than good in certain places,” Obama said. “I personally, and my administration’s position is, that legalization is not the answer.”

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