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News Release from the Libertarian Party of Florida
June 3, 1997

Florida Libertarian Party
Condemns Use of Military in "War on Drugs"

ORLANDO -- A resolution denouncing the government's use of the military in the "War on Drugs' was approved by delegates to the Libertarian Party of Florida's annual convention. The resolution, introduced by convention delegate Wayne Padgette of Leon County, cited the May 22nd fatal shooting of an American citizen, Ezequiel Hernandez, Jr. of Redford, Texas by a Marine on special border guard duty. The deceased's family claims he was merely walking his goats, while the border patrol claims Hernandez fired on them with a .22 rifle.

"Regardless of the events and how they actually played out," states the Padgette resolution, "we must be aware that the shootings would not have occurred had the government not stepped up the level of the 'War on Drugs' since 1989."

"This tragic incident," said Nick Dunbar, Chairman of the Florida Libertarian Party, "shows how the 'War on Drugs' has become a war on the Bill of Rights. It should be unthinkable for the U.S. military to be used in this way. Their purpose should be to defend our people against foreign aggressors, not turn their rifles on U.S. citizens."

The resolution charges that "the 'War on Drugs' is not about curbing drug abuse, or saving American lives, or preventing crime." If these were the goals, it states, then de-criminalization "would be the obvious choice. Alcohol abuse, alcohol-related deaths, and crime statistics all went down dramatically only after prohibition was lifted." The resolution goes on to condemn the 'War on Drugs' as a mere expansion of government power and a "complete and utter failure" and calls for "the complete stand-down of all military operations within our borders, and . . . the immediate end of all operations that are not linked directly to national defense. . . . The government must cease to use the military in these unconstitutional ways."

The Libertarian Party has long held that criminalizing drugs merely makes them more profitable and actually causes more crime and drug-related violence. "Drug abuse should be treated as a medical problem, not a law enforcement problem," said Dunbar. "Before Prohibition, there were no drug laws in this country and also no drug problems to speak of. Both alcohol prohibition and the more recent 'War on Drugs' have been 'cures' that were far worse than the disease."
For more information, contact Nick Dunbar at 954-321-8176 or
Libertarian Party of Florida, P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790-3012


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