Obama Budget Cuts, Latin American Stances Called Drug Legalization Boost


For the first time since the U.S. launched its “war on drugs” four decades ago, there are signs that the forces supporting legalization or de-criminalization of illegal drugs are gaining momentum across the hemisphere, says Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer. The debate will take years to produce concrete results.

New factors include a reduction of U.S. anti-narcotic aid to Latin America proposed by the Obama Administration in its 2013 budget, which is beginning to pose an increasingly serious challenge to the traditional interdiction-based U.S. anti-drug strategies. For the first time, Latin American presidents currently in office are openly calling for government-to-government talks to discuss legalization or decriminalization of illicit drugs. The Obama budget would cut narcotics control and law enforcement funds to Mexico would be cut by nearly $50 million, or 20 percent from last year's levels, while anti-drug funds to Colombia would drop by 11 percent, and to Guatemala by 60 percent.

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