Latin American Leaders Slam Failed US Drug War

Group of ex-leaders calls for US to move away from prohibitionist policies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2009 5:14 AM CST
A visitor takes a photo of slain Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar at the Hacienda Napoles ranch in La Dorada, Colombia, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.    (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)
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(Newser) – Some of America's firmest allies in the war on drugs say the battle is shattering their societies while failing to stop the flow of drugs, reports the Wall Street Journal. A report from a panel headed by the former leaders of Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico—all conservatives who hit hard at drug traffickers while in power—says it's time for the US to reconsider a policy based on punitive measures.

The statesmen warned that the drug trade was eroding the rule of law in their countries and that following US advice had done nothing to break the cycle of violence and corruption. They urged the US to lead the way for Latin American countries and break with "prohibitionist" policies by considering decriminalizing marijuana and treating drug abuse as a public health issue.