Vice President Biden Mexico

March 5, 2012 by staff 

Vice President Biden Mexico, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will begin a visit today to Mexico and Honduras amid growing calls by regional leaders to debate legalizing the consumption of drugs as frustration with an American-led crackdown grows.

Five Central American presidents have said in the past week they were willing to engage in regional discussions over a change in policies, including the decriminalization of the use of drugs, to reduce drug-trafficking that is fueling a rise in violence and homicides in their region.

“If we keep doing what we have been when the results today are worse than 10 years ago, we’ll never get anywhere,” Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said in a Feb. 29 interview. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, who has seen murders surpass 40,000 since he declared war on the nation’s drug gangs in 2006, has also shown a willingness to debate new tactics.

The U.S., which in 2008 pledged $1.6 billion to fight drug gangs in Mexico and Central America through the Merida Initiative, remains unwilling to alter its opposition to drug legalization. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who visited Central America last week, said it “is not the way” to stop the flow of drugs.

Together with the half-century embargo against communist Cuba, the U.S. anti-narcotics crackdown has long irritated Latin America, the source for most of the cocaine and heroin consumed in the U.S. The U.S. has delivered $13.1 billion in anti-drug aid to Latin America and the Caribbean from 1990 to 2008, according to the Congressional Research Service.

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