Op-ed: An End to the War on Drugs?

The New York Review, Alma Guillermoprieto

As a normally pro-forma gathering of hemispheric leaders gets under way in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend, Latin America could instead be approaching its declaration of independence from the United States. For the first time, the region might come out against a US policy.

The change in what seemed to be an immovable subservience has come gradually, but the immediate cause is drugs, and the surprising agent is Otto Pérez Molina, retired general, former intelligence chief, graduate of the Pentagon’s School of Americas, and now the new president of Guatemala.

Pérez Molina is no stranger to the War on Drugs. He campaigned for president promising to bring out the country’s dreaded Kaibil Army special forces against the drug trade; Guatemalan voters, judging crime and insecurity to be their greatest concern, elected him in November. But less than a month after taking office in January, Perez Molina asked his Central American colleagues to consider a unilateral cease fire and ways to legalize drugs.

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