Midterm elections in Peru have highlighted the growing influence of organized crime and drug money in the political sphere of the world’s top cocaine producing country.
Hundreds of winners of Peru’s October 5 elections are under investigation for drug trafficking, corruption, and even pedophelia, analysts and officials say, a sobering sign of the pervasiveness of narco-politics in the Andean nation. More than 21 million Peruvians voted to elect state governors, mayors, and local councils in races that were closely scrutinized due to the alleged criminal ties of many candidates.
One of the most high profile races occurred in Peru’s eastern Uyacali state, where Manuel Gambini was running for governor. While acting as mayor of a small district, Gambini was able to amass two homes worth about $180,000, more than 10,000 hectares of land, and a professional soccer club pushing its way into Peru’s first division — all on a mere of $2,000 a month in wages, the Associated Press reported.
Cultivation of the illegal poppy plant in Afghanistan has reached an “all time high” following a $7.6 billion counternarcotics campaign paid for by the United States, according to government oversight investigators.
Despite the spending to combat growth of the poppy plant, which is used to make drugs such as opium and heroin, cultivation has reached an “all time high,” especially in places once declared “poppy free,” according to new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
Vanita Gupta, the senior American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will take over the Civil Rights Division next week, wrote a CNN column last month praising the legalization and taxation of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Her column focused on the story of Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man sentenced to life in prison for buying a few pounds of marijuana. Gupta argued there was a much better option than incarceration.
Good. Score for common sense.
But OG Drug Warrior Cully Stimson must have spilled tears on the keyboard writing his tales of possible future woe:
But Gupta does not stop with marijuana. In calling for all drugs to be decriminalized–essentially legalizing all dangerous drugs–Gupta displays a gross lack of understanding of the intrinsic dangers of these drugs when consumed in any quantity.
Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and methanqualone are Schedule I drugs, which are defined as “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Cocaine, methamphetamine, Demerol and other drugs are Schedule II drugs, defined as “drugs with a high potential for abuse…with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Sound public policy must be based on facts, not radical unsafe, and dangerous theories.