When any leader of the free world steps on to a stage to deliver a speech intended to inspire and enlighten, the last thing a crowd of bright-eyed spectators expect to hear is an admission of guilt. However, this is, reportedly, what a room full of students and world leaders received last week in Mexico City when former President Bill Clinton apologized for his role in the War on Drugs.
During a recent speaking engagement at the Laureate International Universities Summit on Youth and Productivity, Clinton, an Honorary Chancellor for the organization, addressed the crowd with a modest declaration of guilt in regards to how the U.S. Drug War infiltrated Mexico and turned it into and gun and knife show.
“I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault,” explained Clinton. “Basically we did too good of a job of taking the transportation out of the air and water, and so we ran it over land. I apologize for that.”
“I wish you didn’t have any problems,” he added. “Everybody’s got problems.”
Although there has been little coverage of Clinton’s speech in the American media, Fusion, which is rooted in the ABC Television Network, reports that Mexican news outlets have interpreted the President’s statement as an assumption of responsibility, and have since blasted many airwaves and publications across the country with headlines that reflect this translation.
“Clinton apologizes for anti-narco war applied in Mexico,” reads the headline in the Mexican publication Processo. “Clinton apologizes to Mexico for drug trafficking,” writes Joaquín López-Dóriga on Lopezdoriga Digital.
The Clinton Foundation, a global initiative founded by the forty-second President, which promotes health and economic growth, has confirmed Clinton’s statement, according to Fusion. This, of course, has generated a great deal of respect from members of the drug reform community.
Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann says he feels encouraged by Clinton’s recent apology and hopes the attitude trickles into the White House if Hillary Clinton takes office in 2017. “Of course one wishes he’d done the right thing when he was president and had the power to do so, but it’s always better for an ex-president to apologize for his sins than to pretend he never sinned at all,” said Nadelmann. “Let’s just hope that Hillary Clinton will be far more supportive of major drug policy reform than she’s been in the past.”