Collateral Damage: The 'War on Drugs,' and the Latin America and Caribbean Region: Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration

39 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011

See all articles by Gary A. Mauser

Gary A. Mauser

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

June Francis

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Marketing Area

Date Written: January 12, 2011

Abstract

The Obama administration has an historic opportunity to reform US War on Drugs (WOD) policies in the strategically important Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. This paper examines the impact of the WOD policies and concludes they have seriously exacerbated crime and corruption rates in LAC. The result is weakened governance structures and economic capacities in LAC. The WOD has emphasized supply curtailment in source and transit countries, rather than demand reduction in the US This off-shoring of attacks on drug organizations has resulted in the acceleration of violence and corruption as drug traffickers develop new strategies to maintain their profits. The LAC region has the highest murder rate in the world, even higher than regions with armed conflict. We recommend that the US abandon drug prohibition. Decriminalization would allow governments to control the transshipment, production and distribution of these drugs. This would immediately allow resources devoted to law enforcement activities to be re-directed to assist addicts and to provide financial support to strategically important neighboring LAC states. Controlling the marketplace would also provide the US and LAC with new sources of taxes. We also recommend that LAC governments act together to overcome their small sizes or weak institutional capacities by deepening cooperation as between MERCOSUR and CARICOM. This would enable joint initiatives such as policing of territorial water thus reducing the need for US incursions into the region. Finally, any solution in the region must be supported by the creation of economic opportunities, both intra-regionally and through fairer access to the U.S. markets, particularly for agricultural goods.

Keywords: security and competitiveness, international political economy, policy-oriented studies, Latin America and Caribbean, US drug policy, war on drugs

Suggested Citation

Mauser, Gary A. and Francis, June, Collateral Damage: The 'War on Drugs,' and the Latin America and Caribbean Region: Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration (January 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1739203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1739203

Gary A. Mauser

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
Canada
604 936-9141 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.garymauser.net

June Francis (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Marketing Area ( email )

Burnaby, V5A 1S6
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
503
Abstract Views
2,310
rank
58,205
PlumX Metrics