War On Drugs
Q. Mr. President, you know that the problem in Colombia is the fighting of -- this drug problem. And the newspapers in Colombia are very much in front of this thing.
The President. Yes.
Q. And we are fighting very strongly. We have been suffering a lot. But there is a concern in our country that in the United States there is not enough control and enough punishment on the consumption and distribution of the drugs.
The President. Yes.
Q. I personally had an experience just 2 weeks ago. I was in New York. I was invited to the Waldorf Astoria for dinner. And the person who invited me came to the Grand Central and walked from the Grand Central to the Waldorf Astoria, and in that short walk, four people offered him drugs. So, I say, why does this happen? Is it in the United States that there is not enough control and enough punishment, enough action in that way? So, what can you tell our readers about that?
The President. Mr. Cano [Luis Gabriel Cano, El Spectador, Colombia], first, I strongly supported what President Barco said when he called attention of the world and certainly the United States to the consumption problem. We have no argument with that -- he is right. And what I am trying to do in our new antidrug strategy is to go after not only the criminals that sell drugs to your friend in those two blocks but the people that use it. We're coupling with that an all-out education program that is not just government but private sector as well.
And I might say that it isn't just, regrettably, one country, the United States, that is a user. What concerns me and other leaders is that it's going not only into some countries in our own hemisphere, South America, but all through Europe. And I asked the Soviets if they had a problem with it, and it's everywhere.
But I think when President Barco, my respected friend, pointed out, look, you've got to do something about consumption, he was right. And I've used that in speaking to leadership groups in this room and in others to try to encourage support for our antinarcotics program, which still does have strong support in our country, and for the legislation we need, getting tougher on the people that sell it, and for the education, of educating against being a user.
Argentine Economic Reforms
Q. Mr. President, Argentina is trying to restructure its highly inefficient economy. And that implies some degree of social tensions. And President Menem was here recently to explain some of these goals. What was your perception of these goals and these problems? And what do you think the U.S. can do to assist or help a country like Argentina dealing with these economic and social problems?
The President. In the first place, I was most impressed with President Menem -- not just here when he came to visit but at the United Nations when we sat together and had a chance to have a quick meeting. I think there's been a universal respect for what he's tried to do. He came out of one political background, and he has broadened the appeal not just to have support in the Argentine but in the United States as well.
I told him we want to work with him on the debt problem. I realize it isn't easy because Argentina does have a very large debt. But the elements of the Brady plan are there, and they can be very helpful to him. We want to encourage and be helpful in privatization, and I think there's ways that we can encourage investment in Argentina, given these political re ...
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