Spain’s former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez Tuesday called for an international treaty to legalise drugs as a way to end the deadly wars between trafficking cartels.
“I think it will be our only way of confronting” drug trafficking, he told reporters at a reception for the Mexican ambassador in Madrid to mark the Latin American country’s bicentenary.
Gonzalez, who was Socialist prime minister from 1982 to 1996, noted the consequences of Prohibition against alcohol in the United States in the early 20th century, when gangsters caused “thousands of deaths.”
“When did this violence end? Not when they put the heads of the crime gangs in prison for tax fraud, but when Prohibition ended and the sale of alcohol was legal,” he said.
He acknowleged that “no country can take this decision (to legalise drugs) unilaterally without an extremely serious (political) cost for its leaders.
“What is needed therefore is an international treaty that is respected by all,” he said.
He noted the deadly consquences of the drug war in Mexico, “where between 350 and 360 billion dollars (generated by traffickers) can be found on the other side” of the border with the United States.
More than 28,000 people are believed to have been killed in drug cartel-related violence in Mexico since 2006.
Gonzalez said organised crime is “one of the most serious threats to security that that world is facing, not just Mexico.”
He called for an international conference on the issue, while admitting that it was “unlikely ever to happen.”