Mexican President Says No to Legalization

By McCarton Ackerman 12/11/12

New president Enrique Peña Nieto says the country will continue its fight against drugs.

Peña Nieto "will not abandon the fight."
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Many Latin American countries are considering the possibility of legalization, but newly elected Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says that the country will continue fighting its war on drugs. In a recent interview, Nieto said that despite the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado, he remains personally opposed to legalization and it will not have any impact on the drug war policy in the country. “The short answer is no,” he says. "My government will continue mounting a real fight against the trafficking of marijuana and all other drugs. (We) in no way will abandon the fight." However, Peña Nieto plans to deviate from the methods of his predecessor Felipe Calderon, whose legacy includes an estimated 63,000 drug war-related deaths during his six-year term. Instead, the new president has promised to focus on reducing violence in Mexico rather than capturing top drug lords. Many consider this a sign that drug gangs will be left alone as long as they don't attack civilians. He also hopes to establish drug prevention programs and to create a united front against organized crime through better coordination among local, state and federal police forces, while overhauling Mexico’s currently corruption-riddled justice system. He has created a Pact for Mexico, which lists five themes and 95 promises that he plans to complete during his six-year term; however, some experts say it is lacking in details and doesn't actually stray far from the goals laid out previously by Calderon.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.