The following "Alert" was sent by the Drug Policy Foundation to all its members; it asks that supporters help support Colombia's Attorney General Gustavo de Greiff from attacks he has received from government officials in this country, particularly Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
As you know, a major purpose of the Drug Policy Foundation is to support
public officials who have the courage to take unpopular yet forward-thinking
stances on drug issues. Such efforts encourage a more intelligent debate
about the future of drug policy. Today we are asking you to support Colombian
Attorney General Gustavo de Greiff.
Mr. de Greiff has been recognized as a tough prosecutor, having raised the conviction rate for drug cases in his country from 20 percent to 75 percent. But he has sparked controversy by advocating serious study of drug legalization and by negotiating the surrender of top drug traffickers to law enforcement authorities.
Most recently, U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) objected after Mr. de Greiff published his rational views on drug policy in The Washington Post March 13. (You have a chance to read Mr. de Greiff's article in the current edition of The Drug Policy Letter.) Despite Mr. de Greiff's record, Senator Kerry is accusing him of being soft on drug traffickers.
We urge you to write to Senatory Kerry and tell him to rethink his criticism of Mr. de Greiff's views and actions. In addition, we are providing you the addresses of Clinton administration officials whose agencies have criticized Mr. de Greiff, so you can write to them. It is critical that U.S. leaders know they cannot attack foreign officials whose views on drug differ from their own, without attracting attention and criticism.
The Colombian prosecutor is advancing the debate on the future of drug policy. He is also trying to end a bloody war in his country. But Senator Kerry is holding fast to the notion that fighting with the same old drug strategy is going to bring success.
The approach advocated by Senator Kerry and other drug warriors has been tried, and it has consistently failed. Colombia has suffered as a result of both the U.S. demand for drugs and the U.S.-led war on drugs. Over 150 judges have been killed, in addition to a presidential candidate and numerous other Colombian officials and citizens.
From the front lines, Mr. de Greiff sees the drug war's failure, and he has warned the world that persistence in the current strategy will only bring continued failure. Although this message is unwelcome in Washington, it must be heard.
Gustavo de Greiff is a model for political leaders worldwide grappling with the problems raised by drug prohibition. He is balancing enforcement of current law with the need to create a future where violent drug traffickers are dethroned. But his only reward for displaying courage has been criticism and threats from the U.S. government; even Colombian President Cesar Gaviria has distanced himself.
Please support Mr. de Greiff by telling Senator Kerry and other officials how you feel. The Colombian attorney general has an important message for everyone, and he does not deserve to be treated as a heretic for questioning drug war orthodoxy. By supporting Mr. de Greiff's right to speak out, we can make American leaders realize how seriously his message must be considered. As we show public officials who speak out for refrom that they have support, others will be encouraged to come forward. We need your help. Please act today!
Arnold S. Trebach Kevin B. Zeese
President Vice President
Senator John F. Kerry
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-8525 (fax)
Assistant Secretary of State Robert S. Gelbard
Bureau of International Narcotics Matters
Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520
Attorney General Janet Reno
Department of Justice
Constitution Ave. and 10th St., NW
Washington, DC 20530
President Cesar Gaviria
Casa de Narino
Cr. 8, 7-26
Santafe de Bogota
Colombian Ambassador Gabriel Silva
(202) 232-8643 (fax)
Key Points for Your Letters:
U.S. leaders should listen closely to Mr. de Greiff's arguments. His advice comes from the front lines of the failed war on drugs.
Colombia has suffered unparalleled violence in the war on drugs, but trafficking continues.
Mr. de Greiff deserves respect and praise, not attacks, for taking the positions he has. He is a peacemaker, not a tool of the cartels.
We cannot dismiss the idea of drug legalization. Any approach that could break the back of organized crime needs serious consideration.
If you like what you see here and want to get these bulletins by e-mail, please fill out our quick signup form at http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.