With the body count from drug-related murders hitting 28,000 in his country, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is now joining calls for a debate on the legalization of drugs.
Though the president has said he personally opposes the idea of legalization, his new view comes amid tremendous pressure to justify the continued spiraling of horrific violence as rival drug cartels fight each other since the government launched the crackdown in 2006.
"It's a fundamental debate in which I think, first of all, you must allow a democratic plurality (of opinions)," the Associated Press quotes Calderon as saying. "You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides."
While most of those killed are assumed to be involved in the drug trade itself, the Mexican government has started to acknowledge a growing number of civilian victims slaughtered in clashes between security forces and gangs, including several small children and students.
According to The Guardian, three former presidents -- Cesar Gaviria of Colombia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Fernando Cardoso of Brazil -- urged Latin American countries to consider legalizing marijuana as a way to undermine a major source of income for drug cartels. They called the U.S.-led war on drugs a "failure," and said that Latin America should seek more humane and efficient policies. The new debate, however, was proposed Tuesday by Mexican historian and writer Hector Aguilar Camin. "I'm not talking just about marijuana ... rather all drugs in general," Camin has said.