Corruption is the engine keeping drug war going

Jo Stuart says, “I was surprised at the result of the survey of 1,200 people showing that 81 percent of them think crime will increase if drugs are decriminalized.”

Ms. Stuart is surprised. I am appalled. Appalled to learn such a large percentage of (one would hope), reasonably intelligent people think decriminalizing drugs would have that effect. One needs only look at history for parallels.

When, in the United States, Prohibitionists attempted to sober up the citizenry, they failed in that aim but succeeded in creating an entirely new class of criminals — including the modern American Mafia — because they had created an entirely new set of crimes: The wholesale manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages. Breaking those laws grew rampant and generated  greater corruption than had already existed among politicians and members of police forces who stood to gain by flouting the laws and allowing others to do so — for a fee.

There are corrupt politicians and “dirty” cops in most nations, but in Latin American countries I suspect, but of course cannot prove, this to be an accepted way of life. Given this suspicion, I’m now led to wonder if perhaps the 1,200 people polled to get the response she reports were from those two institutions because who stands to make the most money if drug trade stays in the hands of the criminal element? Why, criminals, of course — along with some politicians and some law enforcement officials who all too eagerly take their cut of the profits and don’t want their cow to die while it still gives milk.

Judy Griffith Gill
Puerto Viejo-Cahuita
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