Latin American Program in the News: U.S. Drug Policy Faces Latin Dissent

Wall Street Journal, 4/13/12

Apr 16, 2012
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When Mr. Obama attended the Americas summit three years ago, the newly inaugurated American president was greeted warmly. He responded that the U.S. had at times been disengaged and promised a relationship based on equal partnership.

Since then, Latin American leaders have felt neglected, particularly as Mr. Obama's launched a drive last year to intensify his focus on Asia. "In the region there's pretty broad disappointment with the lack of attention," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank.

Regional leaders for the first time are openly questioning drug policies molded by Washington. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, whose country remains the world's top cocaine producer despite a large-scale effort to destroy coca crops, put the question of legalization onto the summit's agenda, and has called for a closer examination of the costs and benefits of the decriminalization of personal consumption.

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