Across the political spectrum, amid growing violence and destruction, Latin American leaders assembled in Colombia for the "Summit of the Americas" urged President Obama to reconsider the U.S. government’s decades-old “war on drugs.” And domestically, pressure is growing as well.
Obama responded to the calls by promising to continue waging the unconstitutional war. Analysts and leaders, meanwhile, said the growing rebellion showed that the U.S. government was becoming increasingly isolated and irrelevant in the region. Despite the administration’s efforts to quash the debate, calls for seeking out alternatives to the drug war dominated the headlines throughout the hemisphere.
A century after the first international anti-drug convention agreement was signed by governments around the world, analysts suggested that the tide might be beginning to turn. More and more leaders in Latin America and across the globe are openly questioning the United Nations-mandated and U.S. government-led war — its price tag has been over $1 trillion paid just by U.S. taxpayers, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of lives lost around the world.
Before the hemispheric summit in Cartagena, Colombia, this week, prominent leaders from the region demanded that the subject of legalization be placed on the agenda. Earlier this year, popular Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina — a widely respected former military general with a long history of battling communism — declared the drug war a failure. The issue was clearly not going away.
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Photo: President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos at the CEO Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, April 14, 2012