Our continent is bleeding at the hands of organized criminals and drug traffickers, destroying thousands of lives every year. All because the US has forced Latin American governments to carry out failed drug policies that only reward the criminal gangs behind the drug trade.
Now, for the first time in history, Latin American leaders are separating themselves from the extremism of the US and are pushing for a new approach that could finally deliver results. In 24 hours, Guatemala will bring together the Heads of State of the region to push for a new proposal that gives countries freedom to buck the failed US doctrine and adopt drug policies like those that have worked successfully in Europe.
It’s urgent — high level officials have told us that for the leaders to stand up to the US, they need to see a groundswell of public support in the next few hours to change the failed status quo. Click below to sign the urgent petition and share with everyone — when we reach 100,000 our voices will be personally delivered to the Guatemalan commission that is leading the summit. Join in:
For decades, governments have ignored both experts’ advice and scientific evidence proving the failure of the War on Drugs, fearing voters will throw them out of office if they support alternative approaches, as they will appear “weak on crime”. But the tide is turning — the Organization of American States (OAS) is the first international organization that has produced a report laying out real alternatives like supporting new, peaceful, effective approaches in each country instead of using international law to repress innovation. And, for the first time a group of Heads of State want to act on that expert advice.
Momentum for change is building and now is the time to act: Guatemala, Colombia and other countries in the region want reform; and opinion polls show that citizens know the current approach is a catastrophe. Uruguay is developing a smart plan to regulate cannabis and in the US, two states have already voted to legalize and regulate it. And while countries that have experimented with regulation-based policies have seen significant reductions in drug-related crime, addiction and deaths, the lobbies that have fiercely defended the status quo, including military, law enforcement, and prison departments whose budgets are at stake, are losing ground in the debate.
From the streets of Chicago to the streets of Bogota, families across our region are scarred by the wounds of failure, and this is our chance to try success! The Guatemalan President wants to get all the American states to agree to experimentation this week, and those at the negotiating table have told us if we come out in force to say yes to change, we can push back on stalling from fearful countries.
Let’s ensure our continent, that has suffered most deeply, leads the world to review and reform failed international drug laws. We have just hours before the meeting — sign now and share with everyone — let’s help our leaders take this crucial step to save lives and restore hope:
When politicians take a stand against failed orthodoxies in the face of political risk, as Guatemalan leaders are doing now, and the people don’t rally behind them, they go down in flames. But when mass movements rise up to support them, that’s how history gets made. Let’s make history in Guatemala.
With hope and determination,
Pedro, Maria Paz, Alice, Ricken, Laura, Bissan and the whole Avaaz team
PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=23917
OAS chief calls for drug violence debate (AlJazeera)
OAS Secretary General Presents Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas (OAS)
The Drug Problem in the Americas (OAS Analytical Report)
Numbers Tell of Failure in Drug War (New York Times)