Mexican President Felipe Calderón drew international headlines this week when he said the United States didn’t have the “moral authority” to lead a drug war, after the states of Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use.
And Calderón wasn't the only one to question the decision within the context of the ongoing battle against drug trafficking. After the bills passed, Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos took to twitter to ask his followers in Latin America whether the drug war was pointless in light of the legalization.
"Question for Latin America, why do we kill ourselves in the fight against the narcos if in the USA they legalize drug use? (Mariguana [sic] is legalized in Col and Wash)," Ramos tweeted.
To which follower @reditum responded, "the 'Gringo' double standard."
@jorgeramosnews la doble moral Gringa Jorge
— JUAN VILLEGAS (@reditum) November 7, 2012
So the question remains: Does it make sense for the United States to demand Mexico to use its military to stop the flow of drugs across the border, only to allow Americans to freely consume those same drugs? (See slideshow above)
Latin Americans politicians, activists and ordinary citizens have complained for years that the United States hasn’t exhibited the kind of moral leadership that would give it the authority to push a war against drug use across the hemisphere -- especially given that just 7 percent of the country’s own citizens think the U.S. is winning the war on drugs.
Even before Nixon launched the war on drugs in 1971, Latin Americans often questioned the moral underpinnings of U.S. policy toward the region. The United States helped overthrow democratically elected governments and backed bloody dictatorships from Guatemala to Argentina throughout the Cold War, in the interest of stopping the spread of communism.
But the pattern of interfering in Latin American politics extends further back than the Cold War. Seeking to expand its naval power, the United States invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico in 1898 -- undermining Cuban independence for decades.
So from the colonization of Puerto Rico to the refusal to regulate automatic weapons, above are 27 reasons why the United States lacks the moral authority to lead a war on drugs in Latin America. Let us know what you think in the comments.