The War on Drugs and Its Impact on Latin America Essay

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Ever since the war on drugs was started, most of the battle has been concentrated in Latin America, leaving trails of devastation from deep within Latin America up to the largest consumer of those substances. After years of fighting, and series’ of more and more aggressive policies put into place by the United States, drugs are just as prevalent if not more so than when the war began. Illegal drugs are still easy to obtain, demand for such substances has skyrocketed and cartels are becoming increasingly affluent. Drug violence since 2006 has resulted in the death of more than 60,000 people. Clearly, our current policies in waging this war are not effective, we have spent over 35 billion dollars over the course of 2013 to attempt to combat drug cartels and decrease the amount of violent crime that occurs due to cartel influence.
Central American countries have begun to be afflicted by drug smuggling, even Costa Rica, which doesn’t have a standing army, have begun to see the violence that cartels bring along with them. Several countries have ceded this war, in an attempt to take an alternate approach, appeasement. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos supports decriminalization of cocaine and Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina had said, that he was open to the legalization, and transport of drugs throughout Guatemala. A summit was called by Guatemalan leaders in order to address the potential of a unified approach to drug trafficking. Due to pressure from the US government, most countries withdrew from this summit, which took place in 2012 with Guatemalan, Colombian, and Panamanian officials in attendance. El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua were expected to be in attendance, but pulled out under the pressure of the...

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... own group. They have been collaborating extensively with the Sinaloa Cartel. They control the narrow but geographically significant area in Tamaulipas from Matamoras to Reynosa. The Gulf Cartel is often seen as the “white knight” group as they don’t brutalize the surrounding populous as Los Zetas do, and as the Sinaloa Cartel tends to do as well.
Many of the cartels throughout Mexico are enemies, trying to hang onto their market slice, and willing to fight to the death to hold onto it. Money laundering is something that used quite often in order to minimize any complications regarding the amounts of money that change hands. Even if the US’s “War on Drugs” does work out, unless there is a international policy to deal with the drug trade and the groups that that trade is tied to, no lasting impact can be made on the ability of cartels to make a killing off of it.

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