Reuters) - Vicente Fox, the former Mexican president who was a key U.S. ally in the war on drugs, has backed the legalization of drugs, saying prohibition has failed to curb Mexico's spiraling violence and corruption.
Fox, whose successor Felipe Calderon is mired in a bloody military campaign against powerful drug cartels, criticized the government's anti-drugs strategy on his blog, joining the ranks of other Latin American leaders who say the war on drugs is fundamentally flawed.
"Legalization does not mean that drugs are good ... but we have to see (legalization of the production, sale and distribution of drugs) as a strategy to weaken and break the economic system that allows cartels to earn huge profits," Fox wrote in a posting over the weekend.
"Radical prohibition strategies have never worked."
Violence is escalating in Mexico, where cartels earn billions of dollars a year as they battle for lucrative routes smuggling cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs into the United States.
An estimated 28,000 people have died since late 2006, when Calderon sent soldiers and police across the country to battle drug gangs. The United States is funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into beefing up Mexico's ability to chase cartels.
Yet there are few signs Mexico has turned the corner on what may be the defining issue of Calderon's presidency. Many Mexicans now fear violence could deter business and investment, especially if it becomes more generalized.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6784R120100809