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U.S. war on drugs has failed, report says

Tracy Wilkinson reports:

The United States' war on drugs has failed and will continue to do so as long as it emphasizes law enforcement and neglects the problem of consumption, a Washington think tank says in a report co-chaired by a former president of Mexico.

The former president, Ernesto Zedillo, in an interview, called for a major rethinking of U.S. policy, which he said has been "asymmetrical" in demanding that countries such as Mexico stanch the flow of drugs northward, without successful efforts to stop the flow of guns south. In addition to disrupting drug-smuggling routes, eradicating crops and prosecuting dealers, the U.S. must confront the public health issue that large-scale consumption poses, he said.

"If we insist only on a strategy of the criminal pursuit of those who traffic in drugs," Zedillo said, "the problem will never be resolved."

The indictment of Washington's counter-narcotics campaign comes in a report released this week by the Brookings Institution that advocates closer engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean. U.S. influence in the region has slipped dramatically during the eight years of the Bush administration, and the report suggests an incoming Democratic government led by Barack Obama can open opportunities for better ties and communication.

Read more of "U.S. war on drugs has failed, report says" here.

Go here for our "Mexico Under Siege" coverage.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Comments () | Archives (3)

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We need to change the culture. That will be difficult with its out of control birth rate and poverty. You can't reason with ignorance.

Well, duh!!!
I'm in my 60's and I can't remember when I first heard about these "new" findings, but I was pretty young back then.

How many years and decades has it been since intelligent people have come to these very same conclusions and yet, with the release of these "startling" conclusions, is it now likely that there will be any change in our drug policies?

Hint: don't hold your breath, there are interests that can not be overcome who will perpetuate blaming backward countries for our country's failures in all this.

I think this is all pretty obvious to anyone who seriously considers this problem, especially given the recent gang violence in Mexico.


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson