A prostitution scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents has dominated President Barack Obama’s recent five-day trip to Latin America, but that has left another key issue in the background: the fact that key South American allies are calling for the end of the war on drugs.From Reuters:
“I had a breakfast meeting to discuss trade and drugs, but the only thing the other delegates wanted to talk about was the story of the agents and the hookers,” chuckled one Latin American diplomat in the historic city of Cartagena.
Since Richard Nixon made drugs “public enemy No. 1” in 1971, the over $1 trillion spent to combat the global drug trade has led to overflowing U.S. prisons and a devastating drug war in Mexico without stemming the amount of drugs being trafficked.
The war on drugs has been deemed a failure by Obama’s drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, Former President of Mexico Vincente Fox, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, The Global Commission on Drug Policy and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (to name a few) while diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks reveal a growing exasperation with the drug war among U.S. ambassadors in South America.
Nevertheless, hardline support for the war on drugs remains strong among U.S. politicians.
Here is President Obama’s response to calls for drug legalization (via The Washington Post):
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