Summit of the Americas to discuss anti-drug policy
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos seeks to find alternatives to deal with drug traffic and consumption
The fight against drug trafficking and alternative methods to deal with this scourge, which kills thousands of people every year, are two of the most controversial issues to be addressed at the Sixth Summit of the Americas, although this issue is not on the agenda.
"The important thing about this discussion (about the decriminalization of illegal drugs) is that it is breaking the taboo of drugs, and the market dynamics could change," said Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and head of Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit organization whose main purpose is to end the US war on drugs.
Nadelmann is aware that drugs cannot be legalized overnight, but he thinks that it is necessary to put the issue in the spotlight and seek alternatives to the 40-year-old war on drugs.
Some 23 Heads of State and Government of the Americas will meet in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend to discuss the proposal Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made some weeks before the gathering.
Most of the countries reject the proposal: The United States leads the battle against decriminalization, despite the fact that 16 out of the 51 federal states allow the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
The leaders of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela also reject decriminalization.
Guatemala and Colombia have said that the issue at stake is not to legalize drugs but to find alternatives to the war on drugs in the region.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."