Members of Congress in Colombia are demanding the decriminalisation of some drugs. The government and the USA oppose the move, but supporters say the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and that the country has already paid a high enough price in blood.
Because drugs are illegal, millions of dollars flow into the hands of Latin American criminal gangs, providing most of their income. Eight of the world’s 10 most violent countries are to be found in the region, and a mind-boggling 28,000 people are said to have been killed in Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’ over the last four years.
The US government has said decriminalisation was ‘worth discussing’, but that there was no possibility of the Americans dropping their opposition to it. So what would be the point of talking to them, you might ask.
Even so, the hard-line president of Guatemala has announced his support for the policy, while former presidents of Brazil , Mexico and Colombia have declared the ‘war on drugs’ a failure. At next month’s Summit of the Americas, Latin American leaders who want a change of approach will get a chance to put forward their arguments.
(See also my blogs of May 28, June 10 and 12, Aug 18, Sept 10, 2010, and March 8, 2011.)