The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is a rogue organization loosely connected to the UNODC, with essentially no oversight and operating in secrecy. It’s on the list of organizations that I will designate as terrorist organizations when I become President.
As many of you know, Bolivia recently withdrew from the Single Convention because they were going to be required to outlaw non-cocaine uses of coca leaves in contradiction of Bolivian heritage and Constitution. They intend to re-ratify the convention with an exception for traditional coca usage.
Well, the INCB recently made a bunch of noise about how Bolivia is essentially wrecking drug policy for the rest of the world (even though all Bolivia wants to do is live up to their cultural commitments to aboriginal rights, etc.).
This prompted this rather strongly worded letter from Bolivia to the INCB.
The fact that, according to your note, the purpose of the mission was to analyze â€œthe grave consequences for international drug controlâ€ of our political decision makes it clear that the mission apparently arrived in our country already prejudiced. This is the same prejudice which was publicly expressed by the INCB in its press statement of 6 July 2011, where it is mentioned that â€œsuch approach would undermine the integrity of the global drug control systemâ€. Your letter simply repeats the position that the President of the INCB had already embraced, without examining in a serious manner the arguments which have been explained to you in great detail during your visit. […]
The Plurinational State of Bolivia regrets that the Board has failed to understand and reflect the firm will of the Bolivian government to continue to be part of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. This is why it feels forced to express its utmost rejection of the disqualifications expressed in your note, which fail to ponder on the conclusive and unprecedented results of the Bolivian commitment to control the surplus coca cultivation and the illicit drugs trade. […]
We categorically reject the claims and erroneous opinions expressed in your note in the sense that the Plurinational State of Bolivia has the intention of undermining the integrity of the international drug control system, as it has been wrongly interpreted. […]
Moreover, I am obligated to categorically object to the erroneous inference on the part of the Board when confusing the unilateral accession-with-reservation procedure with a supposed intentionality regarding the reclassification of the coca leaf in List I of the Convention of 1961. In this manner, the INCB seeks to discredit and convolute the intention of the Plurinational State of Bolivia that is well aware of the legal dispositions established in the Conventions for this purpose and the difference between these, and the process begun in June with the denunciation.
This may sound like complex and dry, but it really is quite blistering in foreign-policy-speak.
With Latin America speaking up almost in one voice in favor of talks about legalization, forcing the U.S. to send Joe Biden down there in some futile attempt to quash a rebellion of ideas.
Danny Kushlick, who heads the London-based Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said the region is “on the verge of a tipping point that will begin when the Latin Americans raise the issue within earshot and in full view of the Americans. Ultimately this is about allowing democratic conversations to take place without being leaned upon by the U.S.”
Latin America is feeling bolder, and Bolivia has no reason to act subservient to the INCB.
The U.S. hold on the drug war is noticeably slipping. It still holds the high ground in power, but has definitely lost the moral high ground that it once appeared to have, and the grumbling is getting louder (and it won’t be completely silenced by Joe Biden and the checkbook he’ll be bringing).
I’ve noticed that Biden’s been almost invisible so far in the Obama Presidency, and so has stayed out of trouble. This little trip to Latin America would be an interesting time for one of his trademark gaffes.