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

Cindy Arnson

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.

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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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About the Author

Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Director, Latin American Program
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more