Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Otto Pérez Molina and legalization

The fact that Otto Pérez Molina proposed legalizing drugs is notable for several reasons.

First, it bucks all assumptions, including mine, that he would pursue a mano dura-only policy. Of course there is a military component but it goes far beyond just that.

Second, I can't remember a conservative president so openly talking about how U.S. policy is wrong: "We are not doing what the United States says, we are doing what we have to do." That sounds like Evo Morales.

Third, it is a sign that the United States has gradually been isolating itself. Even Juan Manuel Santos is talking about legalization. Overall there is now consensus across the ideological spectrum that the U.S. strategy in the "drug war" is failing, and that attention needs to shift.

The U.S. view on the drug war has changed little in the past 25-30 years, and the transformation of the conservative mindset in Latin America is catching it flat footed. This could become like Cuba policy, where the U.S. stands alone and claims without evidence that the policy is working.

See also boz, Americas Quarterly, Mike Allison.


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