Colombian President Juana Manuel Santos has been stirring things up a bit.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos called on the U.S. and Europe on Saturday to break the taboo and start a global debate on the legalization of drugs, reiterating his country would not oppose drug decriminalization.

Santos and Nicaraguan writer and former vice-President Sergio Ramirez discussed the possibility of legalizing drugs and the impact on Latin America, during a debate at the literature and arts Hay Festival in the coastal city of Cartagena.

“I know that this can’t be the opinion of a state or the president of the republic, but I am a normal citizen, so I can [say it]. The solution is decriminalizing drugs. It must be decriminalized,” Ramirez was quoted by Colombia’s presidential website.

“I am not against this,” Santos responded. “And I am saying this as president of the republic. This decision would be acceptable for Colombia if taken by the entire world.”

That’s right. A sitting president.

The U.S. has responded:

The United States “respects,” but does not support Colombian President Santos’ call for a global debate on drug legalization, said U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman Tuesday.

Sherman, who is in Colombia to prepare U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas in April, told newspaper El Tiempo that she “appreciated that presidents say what they think and of course I respect their points of view.”

OK. Polite, diplomatic. And the expected non-support for the idea.

However, “President Obama does not support legalization. What we do support is the intense work relation we have with Colombia and with President Santos with the aim of liberating us from this evil.”

Whoa. Liberating us from this evil? Sounds like a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer.

You see, the problem is that once you identify something as “evil,” you’ve completely shut off any notion of having a rational discourse or of analyzing options.

And, by definition, drugs are not and cannot be “evil.” Drugs are inanimate objects, incapable of moral action.


With more and more foreign leaders and former leaders calling for real change, it won’t be long before the U.S. position of drug policy becomes the outlier, and it becomes harder and harder for the U.S. to impose their war on the rest of the world.

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28 Responses to Evil

  1. thelbert says:

    one of my neighbors was prescribed a statin drug and promptly went deaf in one ear. yet i’m constantly hearing how good statins are. if that ain’t evil, what is? i doubt if the governmental defectives can even tell the difference between good and evil. i doubt if they are capable of telling truth if it doesn’t fit their plan to shred a hemp backed constitution.

  2. kaptinemo says:

    Like we’ve been saying all along here; the time is coming when only the US and its’ ‘client’ states (whose ‘leaders’ are dependent upon US largesse for their continuance in power) will be the only ones engaged in a DrugWar, as the other nations of the world, sensing the waning of US ‘influence’, make their gambits for bolstering national sovereignty. And one such move is already in the works, and that is the eventual denunciation by Bolivia of the UN Single Convention treaty which has been used by the US to interfere in their internal affairs under the rubric of ‘morality’.

    When that happens, it will start a chain-reaction, as other nations will see the sky has not fallen, and follow suit. Then the support for the DrugWar will bleed out like a cut carotid artery. Whole blocs of nations will denounce, exit, and go back to their own ways of dealing with a ‘problem’ that never existed until Uncle Sam created it.

    The only real ‘evil’ here is on the part of the US for our Military Industrial Complex to (shamelessly, hypocritcally) use the moral ‘frontage’ of trying to impose its’ version of (twisted) White Anglo-Saxon Protestant ‘morality’ upon different societies that already had a moral code of conduct (in many cases tried and true by centuries of use)….while destroying their citizens, raping their economies, ruining their lands, and generally causing untold misery. And it’s all done in the US taxpayer’s name, a fact that does not escape our victims…who cannot be helped if they dream of revenge.

    We’ve sown the wind with our DrugWar…and we shouldn’t be surprised

  3. Dr. Strangelove (warnipple) says:

    We must invade Columbia right now!

    • kaptinemo says:

      You can bet real money that there’s a contingency plan for just that sitting on some shelf in the Pentagon. Hell, there’s been plans to invade freakin’ Canada that go back to the 1920’s.

      Canada, of all places. Jeez. So there’s no point in saying “Shhhhh! Don’t give the idiots any ideas!” as it’s already too late…

      • primus says:

        My brother was in the Canadian military and told me a story; Declassified documents told of a Canadian military plan to poison the US water supply to the major cities which also supply water to nearby military bases. This plan was developed at the height of the cold war. The US response? “Why would you want to do that to us?” (Blink, Blink, Big Round Eyes.) Fools think we trust them. Only idiots would, and mama never raised none of them. When you live next to the biggest bully around you must make contingency plans.

  4. Francis says:

    Legalization is an “entirely legitimate topic for debate” but that doesn’t mean we should ACTUALLY HAVE that debate!

  5. Gart says:

    I do believe that on their own, drug producing and distributing countries, such as Mexico, Colombia and the like, cannot put an end to Prohibition and the so-called War on Drugs. However, I also believe that now is a golden opportunity for those countries to force the pace of change.

    It is time that Latin America give their unconditional support to the current presidents of Colombia and Mexico calls to consider Legalisation & Regulation as an alternative regime to solve the so-called drug problem.

    It is time that Latin American countries unite with both producing and transit countries all over the world to demand the replacement of the current prohibitionist regime with one that does not criminalise the consumption and production of drugs; with one that puts at the heart of their policies the notion that drugs are not a criminal issue but a health and administrative (regulatory) one.

    UNASUR, CELAC and the Tuxtla Mechanism would be good starting points. They should reject, or at least denounce, “en masse” the current international conventions on drugs, and push through their interests by negotiating the terms of their reaccession to the say conventions.

    To be frank, one should not expect producing and transit countries to deliver the fatal blow to Prohibition and War on Drugs policies. The inescapable fact is that nothing fundamental will happen until the real power behind the war on drugs decides otherwise. And the real power, literally and metaphorically, is in the hands of drug consuming countries, most conspicuously the US — the juggernaut pushing for its implementation and enforcement all over the world.

    And make no mistake, it is not just the US that is at fault here, for we, the UK, have played a major role in the current situation, given that we are one of the major consumers in the world too, and have done nothing to put an end to this criminal, obscene war.

    We have to ask ourselves: are we doing anything to put an end to this insane war? Not at all. Are we challenging US drugs policies? Not in the slightest. Are we eroding the case for the war on drugs by pursuing more rational drugs policies? Absolutely not. Is the government even considering evaluating its current drugs policies? Not a chance. So, we better get down off our high horses because we are all accomplices in this barbaric, inhumane war.

    One thing is for sure, producing and distributing countries should DEMAND the support of those countries that have already “quasi legalised” their demand for drugs (via harm reduction programmes, or depenalisation or decriminalisation of personal consumption) or have “quasi legalised” their internal production of drugs (by allowing users to grow a number of marijuana plants in their homes and for their own consumption, by tolerating the operation of so called “cannabis social clubs”, or by authorising the cultivation of marijuana to supply dispensaries where consumption on medical grounds is allowed).

    It is time for countries such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, among many others, to talk the talk and walk the walk: they have the MORAL OBLIGATION to introduce, support and promote changes in national and international laws seeking the Legalisation & Regulation of the supply, too.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

    • claygooding says:

      While I agree that the production and transit countries should not have to be the ones that end this insanity,they can.

      I look for countries to drop from the UN Drug Treaty following the April meeting where I am sure the President is not going to be able to laugh off their questions.

    • darkcycle says:

      Gart, I agree with most of what you said. However, the war on drugs is a house of cards, and if you disturb one of the cards (the international treaty pillar) the whole house may just tumble. And from a human rights perspective it is arguably the MOST important change that has to occur.

  6. claygooding says:

    Greed created the prohibition and greed will end it. These countries,and ours also,needs the products of their nations going into their legal monies to survive the world’s economical upheaval.

    They are no longer satisfied with just what they can seize and allowing the criminals to get the rest.

  7. allan says:


    is a moral philosophy. Evil does not exist outside of human action. Drugs are drugs. People are bad, mmmkay…

    The government should not be using THAT word. Evil is not secular, it’s profane (for the church). It’s also not persuasive and makes this response shallow (to be expected) and illustrates the absolute lack of a sound government argument.

    Developing a strain of the H1N1 virus w/ a 60% human mortality expectancy is evil. Allowing tens of thousands of humans, most of whom are children, to die from starvation, malnutrition and a lack of clean water… EVERY DAY, that’s evil. Mass rapes, that’s evil. Drugs not so much.

    I tried to fit Newt’s ego in there but it is beyond categorization.

  8. MaineGeezer says:

    They always manage to ignore all the very real evils that result from drug prohibition.
    50,000 people aren’t dead in Mexico because the killers were high on drugs. They are dead because of drug cartel turf wars, each side trying to get a bigger piece of the illegal action.

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    In the meantime here in the United States, we broke 60!

  10. “Evil”??

    I say banning the safest stimulant, perverting it by the iron law of prohibition, for the sake of protecting the most dangerous stimulant fits that description of what the U.S. allows itself to do:



  11. claygooding says:

    Putting Tylenol in opium based pain medications to make them more dangerous is also evil.

    An intelligence agency that relies on the black market for funding is evil.

    Most of the evil harm from drugs is on their side of the fence.

  12. kaptinemo says:

    OT: I just came across an article which demonstrates how the use of language affects voters.

    Even though it does not directly address drug law reform, it becomes very clear what prohibitionists do with using language for purposes of operantly conditioning the electorate through the use of certain phrases – like how every damn grow op raided, no matter how technically primitive it is, is ‘sophisticated’, and what’s behind the idea of cops wearing HAZMAT suits to disassemble grow ops. It’s worth a read.

    • Francis says:

      I don’t even like the term “grow operation” (although it’s better than the unintentionally-hilarious “marijuana lab”). But they can’t very well call them “gardens,” can they? I mean, that doesn’t sound very scary. Heck, it almost makes cannabis sound like it’s just a plant instead of the dangerous drug we all know it to be. (BTW, the only people who run “marijuana labs” are the makers of cannabis bastardizations like Marinol and Sativex.)

    • Windy says:

      “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” — George Orwell

      Funny how that works, no matter which side of the D/R (false) continuum one is one cannot see that both sides of that illusion do exactly the same kinds of things to each other, but only see the other side doing it to them, they are blind to the fact that their side does it to the other side, too.

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken

      “The legacy of Democrats and Republicans approaches: Libertarianism by bankruptcy.” — Nick Nuessle, 1992

      “Liberal institutions straightway cease being liberal the moment they are soundly established: Once this is attained, no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions.” — Nietzsche

      “So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” — Voltaire

      Those “gods, religious and otherwise” includes political parties and those of both major parties engage in all the above atrocities against people who much prefer to just be left alone to live their lives.

  13. Benjamin says:

    The use of the word “evil” to describe drugs has been the stated policy of just about every nation on Earth for over 50 years now. Read the preamble to the UN Single Convention on Narcotics: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_Drugs#PREAMBLE

  14. daksya says:

    Not surprising, yet disappointing. By having used the word ‘evil’, it makes it pretty hard to do an about-face. So, that reduces any hopes for reform in an Obama 2nd term.

    • kaptinemo says:

      It’s not just that. I’ve been on several real progressive’s sites like AlterNet and RawStory, and I’ve noticed the Obama apologists are out in force after the latest snubbing of drug law reformers. Said apologists are making the usual noises about how we must wait for more important issues like the economy before The Anointed One will deign to even glance our way.

      Needless to say, this hasn’t sat well with many of those who have true progressive tendencies, and they’ve been raking the Obama apologists over the coals. A lot of them are saying that they’ll not vote for him again, or even that they’ll vote for Ron Paul, which gets the faux ‘progressives’ in Condescending Lecture Mode, and when they get facts thrown back in their face, said faux ‘progressives’ devolve into name-calling.

      To say it’s been ‘interesting’ is to engage in understatement. Obama may get another term…but he’s gonna have to effin’ earn it, this time. Because his name is mud in many true progressive circles, and this business of him blowing off drug law reform has cost him a lot of young voters.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Well the Republicans certainly seem intent on handing the election to Mr. Obama. Christ, I really could use a lobotomy. Life would be so much easier.

      • thelbert says:

        that’s because a lot of young citizens can look at obama and see the “moderate” republican that he is. harry truman was more radical than the big barrito. personally, i think michelle is the thinker in that family, and i don’t think she approves of liberty unless it jibes with her preset conditioning.

  15. Remember when drug policy reform leaders told us to be patient with Obama, saying he had too much on his plate to do real drug policy reform in his first term? And that he’d be on it like stink on shit in 2012? Yeah, me too.

    So when Obama lies to us again, and he will, I wonder how quickly drug policy reform leaders will defend him and work to get him reelected, telling us “It’s our time.”

  16. Dante says:

    “Whoa. Liberating us from this evil? Sounds like a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer.”

    There it is – religion being used like a tool.

    Drug Warriors and Politicians commonly use religion in their speeches, and to justify their actions. They commonly depict any who disagree with them as “evil” or somehow aligned with the devil.

    Religion is being used by government organizations to control people. It works, if the people are tools.

    In just the last 10 years, those who use religion in their speeches to rally support have:

    Molested young children.
    Started wars based on lies.
    Detained innocent people.
    Tortured/killed innocent people who were detained.
    Lied about all of it to cover it up.

    These sanctimoneous charlatans are more evil than the stuff they make up to get us into wars!

    So, let’s not support anyone who plays the “religious rhetoric card” any more, Mm-kay?

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