Needles Into Ploughshares: Want to Fight Latin America's Drug Problem? Try Land Reform.

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Michael Albertus
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Foreign Policy online (April 12, 2012)
Abstract: 

Latin America has a lot to be proud of. In recent years many countries of the region have succeeded in embracing democratic institutions and spurring economic growth. Yet many serious challenges remain. Latin America has the highest levels of inequality in the world. It also faces a host of security threats, including Mexico's raging drug war, gang violence and human trafficking in Central America, and the persistence of crime across the region.

Many of these problems are linked to the stubbornly persistent production of drugs in Colombia, fueled by decades of conflict in which various illegal armed groups have seized land for illicit uses and displaced millions of peasants. Leaders from the region are increasingly discussing alternative approaches to the war on drugs and the broad security challenges it has created -- and that's a conversation they are sure to continue when they converge at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena on April 14-15.