Vice President Joe Biden will tour Latin America and meet with heads of state amid growing pressure from the region for a different approach to the failed war on drugs. Political leaders from Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Honduras and others have voiced support for abandoning the drug war pushed for so long by the United States and instead decriminalizing drug use.
Throughout Latin America, the U.S.’s drug war has cost a trillion dollars, encouraged police state abuses, fueled violence with drug gangs, strengthened cartels, killed tens of thousands of people, and has not markedly dented drug production and trafficking.
Still, the top Latin America official in the White House, Dan Restrepo, said Latin American leaders shouldn’t expect a shift in policy. “The Obama administration has been quite clear in our opposition to decriminalization or legalization of illicit drugs,” he said.