StoptheDrugWar, 15 November 2011, by Philip Smith

A Dominican presidential candidate who is also a prominent government official and head of one of the parties that make up the current government said Monday he favors drug legalization. Luis Acosta Moreta, nicknamed "El Gallo," told the program Propuesta on Channel 45 that drug prohibition creates corruption and social decay.

Acosta Moreta is the director of the Dominican Republic's Community Development Agency. He is also the head and presidential candidate of the Christian Democratic Union, one of the minor parties in the governing "Progressive Bloc" dominated by President Leonel Fernandez and his Dominican Liberation Party. Elections are set for next May.

The government attacks the effects of drug trafficking, but not its causes, Acosta Moreta said, adding that neglect of the poor left them vulnerable to the blandishments of traffickers. Those same traffickers fund cultural and sports activities in the barrios, he said.

The corruption that comes with drug prohibition infects the police, too, he said. "It's there where this social decomposition begins in which you hear a police corporal speaking of mansions and SUVs, because that's what we're living through, for which I totally agree that drugs should be legalized," Acosta Moreta proclaimed.

In its most recent annual report on the global drug trade, the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs described the Dominican Republic as "a major transit country for illicit drugs originating in South America" and one where drug-related law enforcement corruption is "endemic."

As they confront the consequences of drug prohibition, the list of Latin American politicians embracing radical drug policy reform just keeps on growing.

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