Salcedo: War On Drugs A Political Sham

Sylvester Salcedo
Sylvester Salcedo

U.S. Senate candidate Sylvester Salcedo says governing morality as it applies to the “war on drugs” is a wimpy way for politicians to hide behind each other. Salcedo, a Democrat who served his country as a Navy commander, is trying to engage his higher profile opponents to join his call for national drug reform, among them Congressman Chris Murphy, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Republicans Linda McMahon and former Congressman Chris Shays. In this essay the ex-Bridgeport resident urges “Drug use should be administered, managed and supervised by the medical profession, and drug abuse should be a public health, not a law enforcement or national security matter.” He says many political figures agree with him privately but lack the courage to stand up. To learn more about Salcedo, visit

“Taking point” in the US Senate race in Connecticut.

In ground combat patrols, the most dangerous position is that of the “point man.” That is the soldier who leads a patrol on foot or a lead vehicle in a convoy that is first to take on hostile fire, or trip a booby trap or trigger an IED. The result is usually fatal (death) or at least serious bodily injury, such as TBI (traumatic brain injury or loss of limbs, etc).

We see in our politics, especially today, no one is dashing to volunteer one’s campaign to take “point” on an issue or issues not cleared as safe by polling, or by the untested science and art of public opinion experts, or by the self-appointed political pundits of all stripes.

Our 40-year War on Drugs is today’s untested political war zone. Sorry, actually no, in the most recent past it has been tested repeatedly and the political battle damage assessment (bda) reports back to any campaign headquarters are “Don’t go there!” “It’s the third rail of politics.” “You touch it, you’re dead. Politically. Immediately.”

For Maria Elizabeth Macias of Nuevo Laredo, the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, a non-politician, she touched it and now she’s dead.

Maria Elizabeth was decapitated on or about September 27, 2011. Her head and decapitated body were found in a main square in her hometown with a sign that read: “I’m the Laredo Girl (La Nena de Laredo), and I’m here because of my reports, and yours. For those who don’t want to believe, this happened to me because of my actions, for believing in the Army and the Navy. Thank you for your attention. Respectfully, Laredo Girl … ZZZZ.” The z’s are not to indicate she’s asleep, they are to identify her alleged killers, the Zetas.

She was abducted and killed because she reportedly was blogging on a local website “Nuevo Laredo en Vivo’ sharing information about the location of gunfights and roadblocks, and for denouncing the violence perpetrated by all drug cartels, especially the group known as “The Zetas” (the letter Z in Spanish). This website is used by most local residents to have an idea of where violence and active clashes between drug gangs or between the gangs and the military that are occurring in real time. City leaders disbanded the entire local police force due to corruption and lack of trustworthiness.

The newspaper she worked for, Primera Hora, is hard pressed to provide accurate information as to her exact identity and job description for fear of reprisals. Such is the reality in many parts of Mexico today when the press self-censors itself for fear of death threats and certain death. Then, what is a Democracy without a Free Press?

As a follow-up last Friday night, I heard for the first time in Connecticut’s news airwaves an account of this story on NPR’s Fresh Air program, and the newscaster did not mention Maria Elizabeth Macias’ name but said other web bloggers in Nuevo Laredo have suffered the same fate. Almost two months has passed since her death in Nuevo Laredo, and now we hear a seemingly and equally oblique reference to this unfolding tragedy and endless bloodshed suffered by the most vulnerable of our neighbors to the south. Since 2005, over 40,000 Mexicans have lost their lives in the crossfire that is the War on Drugs.

Besides the loss of lives and countless other injuries, physical and mental, psychological and spiritual, moral and political, what of the loss in personal wages, shrinking business and commercial developments, declining trade and an unstable economy as fear and instability creeps across the entire spectrum of Mexican life?

Can we afford to continue to push Mexico and our other southern neighbors to the brink of collapse by bolstering our own immediate political ambitions with attention grabbing headlines about building electrified walls and fences with moats and alligators?

No. What we need is strong and decisive political leadership from those willing to “take point” to help our neighbors, to help our own citizens, to help our own cities and towns to be safe and to prosper.

To grow our economy, to create jobs, to care for our veterans, to improve our schools, to provide sensible and affordable healthcare for all citizens, to strengthen our local and national security, we need to end this wasteful and senseless 40-year-old War on Drugs. Common sense and pragmatic financial analysis says drug abuse is bad, but the War on Drugs in worse. Drug use should be administered, managed and supervised by the medical profession, and drug abuse should be a public health, not a law enforcement or national security matter.

As a Democratic candidate for US Senate, I step up to take “point” and I would work to end this wasteful and misguided War on Drugs as my first priority. I would support the legalization of marijuana. I say: grow it, trade it, sell it, tax it, ingest/use it responsibly. I would support the moving heroin off Schedule 1 to a Schedule 3 category and give the medical profession the decision-making authority to determine how to treat their patients under their time-honored motto of “Do No Harm” over the centuries. I would support the initiative by the former Mexican president Vicente Fox to call for a truce with the most powerful and influential drug cartels and allow them to be reintegrated into a positive and beneficial role in Mexico’s future. I would call for amnesty and the reintegration of many drug war prisoners to rejoin their families and help to rebuild their communities. I would support changing the DEA’s mission from drug enforcement to financial enforcement to protect the financial well-being of our citizens from the past abuses and the lack of enforcement of our financial laws and regulations. Finally, I would support the call by Mexico’s preeminent poet Javier Sicilia for peace and change, in his country and ours.



    1. A family dog was shot in Black Rock recently. A friendly animal by all accounts and within view of a young boy from that family. The perpetrator was under 25.
      The call went out. The community was alarmed. The suspect was identified and tracked down ultimately. Found in his Black Rock apartment along with a male contemporary were cocaine, cash, drug paraphernalia and weapons of several types with ammunition. A drug manufactory or just a distribution center???
      These two men are fewer than 5-6 years out of high school. Were they part of the “college ready” group in the BOE mission statement? Or were they early exit entrepreneurs who set up shop with their own jobs program? And what was taught and learned in school about guns, drugs and responsibility to the community that allowed this “business” to be the best option in sight to pursue? So the police and the courts and the prisons and the folks who follow up the system will do their work as a tertiary educational institution at greater expense?
      Why wouldn’t we attempt a medical model alternative knowing the huge ongoing costs of our DRUG WAR throughout the world?
      Label it, license its distribution, supervise it medically, cut the profit down in the worldwide distribution network. And drug testing for all can be included so we are not innocently taken advantage of by people who would use drugs secretly when their position and responsibilities would be compromised by them. Help those who wish to overcome their addiction as we do alcohol. Where is the moral difference between alcohol and drugs? But there is a practical difference. We have spent billions. Do we need to spend more to label a policy failure? Time will tell.

  1. With so many issues plagueing our country, this is the only one Salcedo seems interested in addressing. Paging Jim Himes, Dick Blumenthal and all other members of the Connecticut Congressional and Senatorial delegation. Jobs is the number-one issue in America. New ideas and product development is the primary way to create jobs. When an inventor wants to apply for a patent such as in my case, Patent research is among the first steps necessary. Go to www and try doing a simple patent search. Years ago, I was able to view any patent drawing and copy as many of them I wanted or needed to. Today, this is nearly impossible, believe it or not. The USPTO has a complicated web system–so they claim. In order for me or anyone to view and copy a patent, I must first find and download the correct software in order to view and copy patents. The only software I could find is one with which I can only copy 3 or 5 patents for free and after that, I have to pay for any more copies. It’s bad enough it’s expensive to hire a Patent Attorney even if it’s just a simple invention. Now, I and anyone interested in researching patents must pay to view and copy current patents. I’m at a standstill now. The thought in the event I am awarded a patent and someone else is going to charge others to view and copy drawings of my patent is just unbelievable. It’s even more unbelievable when I have to use my own ink and paper. This is a huge setback and failure to address this issue will result in greater failure in job creation. What the hell does the USPTO do with all the revenue they raise in fees? The USPTO awarding a monopoly to one company for the viewing and copying of patents. So much for the spirit of competition and freedom of information!

    1. There are rules–plenty of them–when it comes to patents, Grin. Once an idea is revealed or used in public, you lose patent protection rights. Here is an example of how blatant and blunt the USPTO is in regards to my issue: “PTO cannot and will not provide direct user support for TIFF image display or printing beyond the provision of hyperlinks to known suitable free TIFF browser plug-ins.”

  2. You should invent the software that will allow you to print more than the five images their current software allows you to print for free.
    That would teach them!!!

  3. Salcedo’s issue is approaching the scourge of drug abuse in a different way from that practiced today because 50 years of one approach has not ended the WAR ON DRUGS, but rather created a “prisoner of war” situation that is so expensive in terms of people’s lives, public resources and jobs that produce nothing of note. And when society becomes captive to its own strategy, isn’t it time to look for better results?

    Gonzalez says jobs are the critical priority on the political spectrum, and then points to brokenness in the patent system with which he has more than passing acquaintance.

    Seems to me there are many less than perfect situations in the US. And entrepreneurs who find a better, faster, less expensive way to do something necessary, are often on the track to fame and fortune, assuming that the public finds the alternative, idea, or solution to be truly better at doing the job. Private initiative, backing private observation and reflection on how to do something better, and then private decision to put dollars, time and other necessary resources at risk is the way to success. Of course it may be the way to failure in many cases also. That is why government choice of targets or markets to receive funds like the recent California solar energy plant getting Obama funds often devolves into chaos and bankruptcy. Time will tell.

  4. Mr. Salcedo, this is the USA not the United States of Mexico. The drug policy has failed because the politicians at the very highest level want it to fail.
    You and I know if the USA wanted to they could wipe out the poppy crop in Afghanistan and in Southeast Asia at a moment’s notice. Why don’t they do it? They don’t do it because those plants are a mainstay in their economy.
    The Mexican government could do the same thing if it really had the desire. Top much cash changing hands.
    You make it sound like the drug dealers who have been jailed in Mexico or for that matter those in the US are prisoners of war. Bullshit!!!
    BTW who the hell ever said Vincente Fox was a great man? Yeah let’s free all the drug dealers, give them reparations for time served, give them a hammer and a pickup truck and a contractor’s license. That would be great. BTW how many of the 40,000 killed were innocent bystanders?
    Mr. Salcedo, please don’t run for office, move to Mexico and expand on your ideas there. If they work you can come home as the conquering hero.

  5. Joel, my good amigo … remember the old Saturday Night Live skit with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin impersonating that old 60 Minutes show, Point-Counterpoint with Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick in the ’70s? “Jane, you ignorant slut!” I will not direct that phrase at you, but I will admit it crossed my mind when I read your first comment today. If you read through my website, and please do, the War on Drugs (WOD) is not my only issue. Yes, it is my primary campaign platform, no doubt about that. After all, I AM a military veteran of the WOD, and THE ONLY ONE to date who has publicly protested against the WOD against my former president and former commander in chief (William J. Clinton). That, too, is on the website!
    2. Veterans and issues affecting our newest IRAF veterans (Iraq/Afghanistan) and generations of veterans before them, like me, are of special concern for me in this Senate race.
    3. Jobs and job creation in CT–I’ve provided an outline. Did you read the “CIA” idea … CT Information Agency … that’s a computer information database idea/structure that would be a perfect fit for a brain/knowledge-based economy like CT (insurance, financial services, defense technology, etc.) … we don’t have year-’round beaches like Florida, or world class skiing like VT, NH or CO … but we have lots of excellent institutions of higher ed and research … Yale-UCONN axis of smarts.
    4. Healthcare: again related to ending the WOD, we could be a regional powerhouse in drug abuse research and rehabilitation or effective heroin maintenance programs, by not wasting time and money arresting and incarcerating non-violent pot smokers/heroin addicts and spend that now wasted money to provide basic and affordable health care for all CT residents … in the same way we led the way and scooped up the money with the casino idea first.
    But let me get to the point tonight, Joel … I am volunteering to be the point man in the political landscape of the 2012 Senate race on the WOD issue, but I also have been on the record for over ten years, albeit quietly, with Chief Joe Gaudett, your current police chief, and Chief Bryan Norwood before him, and Chief Wilbur Chapman “I will push all the drug dealers back to New Jersey.” before Norwood … that if and when the BPD had a drug raid coming up … I volunteered to be called up (along with Rev. Lorenzo Jones of the Messiah Baptist Church … back in 2008, at least … haven’t renewed commitment with Rev. Jones recently) on a ten-minute standby notice (now I’ll need about 30 minutes from Orange) to be the “point man” to knock on the door of any drug suspect and announce the pending arrest warrants to the occupants to avoid “collateral damage and injury” to innocent bystanders/neighbors/children and to keep the cost of police overtime to a minimum. (tc would love this idea … saving him and Bpt precious city tax dollars and perhaps increasing his 21 cops on the beat per sector ratio!) To date, no Bpt Chief of Police has accepted my offer. But the offer still stands …
    Joel, perhaps you can start and coordinate bipartisan teams of “point persons” for future statewide drug raids … I’ll go with Linda McMahon to Marina Village for starters … she’s already done a walk-through with Rick Torres, Chris Shays can go with Susan B., maybe Chris Murphy and Brian H., and Jason McCoy with William Tong … who’s missing? We could have something here …
    For drug raid samples … on June 30, CT Post announced a 29-person arrest, “Operation Clean Sweep,” major drug bust in the East Side/East End, Stratford, Ansonia and Naugatuck … “Ripped the heart” of a dangerous gang … is the way the CT Post put it … but I had the CT Post beat because Stratford’s Patch.Com published the home addresses of all 29 arrestees, and I went to visit every household starting at 8am on June 30 … I didn’t find a dangerous drug gang … but a bunch of knuckleheads just trying to get by with a few low-level drug sales … total cash seized by the police teams from 29 suspects: a whopping $7,000 in cash (that’s about $241 per person), plus 104 bags of heroin, 8+ grams of marijuana, and yes, 45 guns (and it’s unclear if all the guns were seized that day or part of the year-long investigation leading up to the takedown … tc: how much police overtime was spent on this operation? Court time to prosecute? Jail time to house the prisoners? Wouldn’t you like to know? Can you find out for us? Regular police time and overtime in the investigation, planning and execution of a 29-household raid across four cities and towns complete with the State Police, SWAT teams, armored vehicles and flash-bang grenades, it would be interesting to know how much that cost taxpayers. tc, are your Bpt schools any better funded and your streets safer because of this drug raid back in June? You got $7,000 cash in asset forfeiture!
    How about the 21-person raid in New Haven last Thursday, Nov. 17? I could not get to 28 and 36 Maltby Place in Fair Haven all day Saturday because of the traffic jam on Route 34 for “The Game” … oh yes, the world famous Harvard-Yale 128th game … rah-rah, team! … tailgating galore with beer plus the real stuff, hard liquor, not in your dad’s Volvo wagon, or Benz or Range Rover, but 20-foot U-Hauls!!! Keg parties!!! And not one arrest for underage drinking in the newspaper? No undercover ATF, joint ops with New Haven Police? No YouTube undercover expose by Fox News … I’m shocked.
    PS. I finally got to Maltby Place on Sunday. Initially, no one on the street was willing to talk, but they ultimately succumbed to common sense and bare bones honesty that the WOD is a total waste of money. Their money. Their biggest feedback: can Mayor DeStefano plow their street this winter???!!! Many of the 21 drug raid arrestees shoveled the snow for neighbors last winter, especially for the elderly. Taxpayer money to lock up the snow shovelers from the winter of 2011 on Maltby Place in Fair Haven and now New Haven taxpayers will pay more to plow that street this winter. Calling Mayor DeStefano in the morning.

  6. Sorry, OIB fans … for this late entry, but I knew I was forgetting another possible matching pair:

    Suffered a classic Gov. Rick Perry brain freeze moment and could not remember this last team …

    Lee Whitnum–Democrat
    Peter Lumaj–Republican

    Maybe Joel can invent a special “Made in Bridgeport” machine that can mix and match all CT senate candidates for our “point man” bipartisan teams in all future statewide drug raids from today until election day in 2012!

  7. Mr Salcedo: You are kidding, right? Many of the 21 drug raid arrestees shoveled the snow for neighbors last winter, especially for the elderly. Taxpayer money to lock up the snow shovelers from the winter of 2011 on Maltby Place in Fair Haven and now New Haven taxpayers will pay more to plow that street this winter.
    Look, do us a favor. Stay in Orange, go to work every day, have fun with your family, etc. Please don’t try to force your bullshit stories down our throats and make drug dealers out to be heroes.
    Yeah right, the drug dealers you mentioned on Maltby St. shoveled snow!!! I would bet if asked they wouldn’t know what end of the shovel to use.
    When did drug dealers obtain a second classification from shitbag to snow-shoveling hero?
    BTW weren’t you in the judge advocates office while in the Navy?

  8. Good morning, tc … it’s crystal clear I need to triple my efforts to win you over … a prized Democratic voter. I appreciate the time you take and the thoughts you share. However, I think I’m losing you in the nuance of my blogging efforts. Accordingly, I will be more specific and careful with my words and descriptions. Thank you.
    Working backwards from your post … you can see in my resume/website I was never a member of the Navy JAG. In the beginning of my naval career, I tried to drive ships, but got seasick and never earned my “water wings.” So I went into Naval Intel in the Reserves … just so you know, if you don’t already, the Navy food chain goes something like this … at the top is the nuclear program for subs (think Jimmy Carter, Admiral Rickover), then if you wash out of the nuke-sub program, you can go naval aviation (Tom Cruise-Top Gun-Maverick-John McCain), if you can’t hack flying or get your air wings clipped, then you go with the surface skimmers (ships), if you wash out of there, you go Naval Intel Reserve.
    Okay, about the New Haven drug raid group, all I tried to point out is instead of locking up these 21 suspects and spending thousands, if not millions, of taxpayers money over the next 5-10-20 years on these individuals (for surveillance, arrests, prosecution, jail time), why not rethink-retool the current drug policy and get them to be active participants and contributors to their own families and communities(shoveling snow when the New Haven plows don’t come by)/state/USA instead of warehousing them at great cost (and waste) to the rest of us. Yes, some of these individuals may, in fact, deserve jail time and may be incorrigible criminals, but I cannot believe, based on my experience and general knowledge of these types of drug raids, all 21 deserve to be locked up for long periods of time because of our current, dumb-ass drug policy, which is as dumb-ass as alcohol prohibition. The reason today’s politicians and political aspirants continue the current wasteful drug policies is because they are afraid of voters like you who will vote them out of office unless they’re tough on crime, tough on drugs. So they gladly waste your tax dollars in the War on Drugs. If that’s what you want, there are four other Democratic candidates, and five other Republicans for US Senate who you can choose from out there. Until next Spring, I will continue to work on you and 500,000 other registered CT Democrats, to win your vote. Wouldn’t you like to know where all the current lineup of US Senate candidates stand on the War on Drugs?
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and the entire OIB family.

  9. Mr. Salcedo. I am well aware of the navy hierarchy. I spent four years in the navy. I was in the amphibious navy running all over the western hemisphere with marines.
    Look, I don’t say the average druggie needs to go to jail for years and years but after he or she has been given many, many chances it’s time for jail.
    Making drugs legal is not going to save us much and very well might make more drug-addicted people than we already have.
    So we make it legal and we give it to the druggies or anyone that wants it free, is that what you are saying?
    If you are saying they just have to buy it say like a beer then where do they get the money? Back to square one they do something illegal to get their legal drugs.
    There are enough issues in this country right now those morons in Washington are not handling. Budget problems, foreclosure problems, unwinnable wars, job problems and the list goes on and on.
    If drugs become legal do you think Orange where you live will allow a marijuana or coke store on the Post Road? NOPE. What you’re not saying is all of these legal dope stores would end up in the large cities. Bullshit.

  10. tc, or should I now say, “Shipmate” … I think we’re beginning to get somewhere. So you were in the Gator Navy … maybe a UNITAS deployment, it sounds like … what year? Now a trusty shellback or still a pollywog?
    Drug issue: I am proposing full marijuana legalization as with liquor and cigarettes … it should be grown or imported, processed, inspected, taxed and distributed like liquor and cigarettes in liquor stores (note: not like beer sales at Stop and Shop) … that would eliminate about 75% of your annual federal and/or state drug arrests cost that drives up your federal and state/local taxes, or diverts it from your local school budgets or snow plowing budgets. I also said make heroin a schedule 3, not schedule 1 drug … and put it in the hands and control of the medical professionals, just like your percocets, xanax, etc. Are these legal drugs abused? Yes, but it does not create powerful and violent drug cartels that threaten foreign countries like Colombia in the recent past and Mexico today, or supply extremist Islamic groups hostile to us as in Afghanistan with money to buy arms.
    Marijuana coffee shops in Amsterdam and other selected cities in the Netherlands have provided long-time “drug tolerant zones” that do not apply in the rest of the country, much like Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are “gambling” tolerant zones for us in CT/the New England/NY region … until everyone gets on the gambling bandwagon. Illegal drugs have never been legal anywhere in Holland, just tolerated. Look at their teenage use levels compared to ours, look at their prison rates compared to ours, look at their education cost or school success levels compared to ours.
    Switzerland legalized heroin in 2008. That’s three years ago. We haven’t heard heroin use or abuse is exploding all over Switzerland. Their citizens enjoy a high standard of living, good healthcare, excellent education, etc. because they “get it.” They are pragmatic and realistic, yet moral and compassionate. They are not “morality extremists” like most of our politicians who reflect their alcohol prohibitionists elders, providing leadership through fear mongering.
    Go to Portugal. They decriminalized all drugs over ten years ago. Compare their prison rates regarding drugs to our stats, compare their healthcare cost to ours, compare their law enforcement budgets to ours. The obviousness of the numbers will knock you out.
    Back to CT: in 2008, cigarettes were taxed at $2.00 a pack, in 2009, it went up to $3 a pack … did CT smokers stop smoking en masse, did CT smokers riot in the streets, did CT smokers start smuggling cigarettes by the truckload from Kentucky (tax is $.6o per pack, up from $.30!!!)? … certainly CT smokers in Stonington are not running to RI where cig tax is the highest at $3.46 a pack. Point is right now we have zero tax benefit/revenue from marijuana that we know 1 in 3 Americans have tried at least once in their lives, yet we carry 100% of the cost in trying to suppress its use, distribution and prohibitionist cost.
    Let’s save heroin for the candidate debate nights … should be interesting. Stay tuned.
    PS. I will check with our First Selectman Jim Zeoli about possible marijuana sales on the Post Road in Orange, and get back to you.


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