REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, on a swing through Mexico and Central America, on Monday adamantly rejected any move toward legalizing drugs.
Biden's comments to reporters came as a number of Latin American leaders have begun to suggest decriminalization as a way to reduce deadly violence engulfing parts of the region.
"It is totally legitimate for this to be raised," Biden said. "It warrants discussion. It is worth debating to lay to rest some of the myths."
He said that ultimately, legalization creates more problems than it solves, including the bureaucratic costs of regulating and distributing drugs plus the damage to public health from consumption and addiction.
Biden also met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and with the three candidates who are competing to replace him in July 1 elections. Biden said he was confident each of the three would continue a close working relationship with Washington.
The vice president travels on to Honduras where on Tuesday he will sit down with Central American leaders to discuss drug trafficking and other security issues.
-- Tracy Wilkinson
Photo: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, greets Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City. Credit: Mexican government via European Pressphoto Agency