When the Central American country with the largest US military presence — Honduras — also became the region’s preferred landing zone for international cocaine traffickers, it was probably inevitable that someone was going to get hurt.
Magic tunnel: Put drugs in one end in Tijuana, Mexico, and zoom through the tunnel! The package arrives in San Diego, California. Mexican authorities found this tunnel in November 2011. Dozens of others have popped up over the years. (Francisco Vega/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexico’s army stumbled upon another secret tunnel for smuggling drugs into the United States, according to wire reports. This one is 755-feet long, dug 60 feet beneath the ground and runs across the Sonora-Arizona border. That pales in comparison with the 2,000-footers found in past years (like the one in November 2010 and another almost exactly one year later). But what it lacks in length it appears to make up for in sophistication: “It had electricity, ventilation and small cars to transport the drugs through the tunnel,” The Associated Press reported, citing a Mexican general.
This week, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica sent a bill to Congress that would allow a chain of nationalized dispensaries to supply the soft drug in controlled amounts to registered adult users. The measure, which lawmakers are expected to approve, is a response to a violent crime wave triggered by the growing use of harder drugs in Uruguay, traditionally one of the safest nations in Latin America.
A Honduran policeman stands guard as about 400 kilograms of cocaine are aflame in Tegucigalpa on May 11. The drugs were seized as part of a joint operation with US Special Forces. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)
Hardly a week after a US Army antidrug squad in Honduras made the front-page of The New York Times, America’s Special Forces appear to have sunken into trouble in the jungle. Allegations of a botched raid — inluding reports of innocent casualties — have riled up the locals and sparked an outcry for the "gringos" to go home.
What was once taboo has now got presidents talking in public and writing charged commentaries. They’re trying to frame the new drugs debate in terms that Washington — which firmly stands by the drug war solution — will understand: supply and demand.
LIMA — Peru is set to overtake Colombia as the world's top grower of coca — the plant used to make cocaine and crack. So far, the Andean country's government is staying the course in the US-backed war on drugs. GlobalPost talks to the government's former anti-drug czar who tried to change that.
Imagine a post-drug war world. After decades of brutal violence, huge costs and corrupting cartels, the Americas are trying to picture it. They produce and ship the bulk of the cocaine that enters the US, the world's top user. Now leaders are discussing alternatives to the war on drugs, such as decriminalizing or legally regulating parts of the drug trade. The taboo is broken. 'Legalize it' is gaining ground.