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Obama don't mind debating legalization of drugs

U.S. President Obama addresses joint news conference at the White House in Washington

Univision Interviews President Obama

Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer and Spanish rights advocate Nick Wooldridge recollects the recent interview of President Obama. Imagine for a moment Fox News lighting up an advertising campaign after the 2014 election. Displaying the Republican elephant logo with F-O-X instead of three stars and the tagline reads:

“Opposing the administration wasn’t enough — it took Fox News — we reach voters.”

It wouldn’t be difficult to presume the outrage that would result.

This is what Univision Network is causing with its street posters everywhere in Washington DC. The campaign uses the colors and typeface of the famous “Hope” campaign flyers and graphics and substitutes the heavily stylized “O” with the Univision logo. The tagline on the posters?

“Hope wasn’t enough. It required Univision.”

“It” points to Obama’s triumphs in 2008 and 2012

In 2014 President Obama talked with an anchor from Univision to discuss a broad range of issues and concerns. The interview transcript can be read here in its entirety.

The Interview

On a spring night in 2012, President Obama sat down with Enrique Acevedo. At the time, there were several issues facing the President and the country and Acevedo was given a no-holds-barred opportunity to ask about democratization, drug legalization, immigration reform and race relations.

As the last year of Obama’s first four-year term was underway, Obama claimed to be open to a national debate about decriminalizing drugs; however, he remain opposed to it. He pledged action on immigration reform in the first year of his second term.

Obama pointed to nations like Cuba and Venezuela where democratic freedoms were at risk but acknowledged that there “are times when elections aren’t enough”.

Speaking to the topic of immigration reform, Obama pointed to Republicans for the lack of progress on legislation: “I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term,” the President said.

“The challenge we have on reforming immigration is simple; I have a Democratic majority who are prepared to vote in favor, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to support it.”

Obama termed the progress over Latin America relations “remarkable”. He pointed out that commerce between America and Latin America had grown by 46-percent since he first took office. Additionally, there have been expansions in educational exchanges, increased trade and negotiations continue with Panama and Colombia.

When asked about “double standards” between how America supported democracy during Arab Spring and how it is now dealing with Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, the President reiterated America’s belief in democracy, free speech, and a free press.

Acknowledging the inability to speak out at times, Obama expressed hope that America could work with other countries in Latin America. “Economies don’t operate where people’s freedoms are suppressed,” said Obama.

Obama termed “racial profiling as very troublesome”. With a blunted reference to Donald Trump, Obama said: “we need Republicans to change their mind throughout the country.”

Obama intends to continue to encourage the Latino community as he asks each member of Congress to identify where they stand on the issues.

On the drug issue, Obama had to speak carefully since America is the principle importer of drugs.

“Do you think it’s time to modify the strategy of the war on drugs,” Univision asked.

Obama pointed out cooperation between law enforcement in Colombia and America as an example of the progress made so far. “This has been a challenge, and I don’t mind a debate around concerns like decriminalization; I don’t agree that that’s the solution, though.”

2016 is Obama’s last year. Only history will be able to evaluate how his discussion with Univision worked out.

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