The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
The White House says that Venezuela and Bolivia "failed demonstrably" in anti-drug efforts in the last year. But while there are clear signs that these countries are growing drug hubs, diplomatic considerations played a role in singling them out for criticism.
A report by a panel of high-profile political figures states that the taboo around discussing new approaches to drug regulation has been broken. But while alternative drug policy advocates have enjoyed significant victories in the past few years, there's still room for setbacks.
Nelly Santos was worriedly waiting for her son to come home after receiving a call from his school. Daniel arrived with his head lowered, his cap visor covering his face and his eyes reddened. He'd been caught smoking marijuana with some other students. Nelly, a 58-year-old nurse, first thought: "he's lost." She's heard stories about people who'd gone crazy after consuming cannabis; it turned them into criminals, or ruined their lives and the lives of those around them. But seeing the shame, apathy, and fear with which her son crossed the threshold of the front door changed her mind within seconds.
The long process of legalizing marijuana production in Uruguay continues to inch forward, under the watchful eye of other countries in the region considering similar measures.
A consensus has been building in Latin America that drug use should be treated as a health and not a criminal issue. But has this rhetoric become an on-the-ground reality?
Argentina's president has endorsed the idea of developing more lenient drug legislation, marking the country's first step towards joining a regional push for alternative solutions to the illegal drug problem and raising the question of whether it could follow a similar path as Uruguay.
Around 2,000 inmates convicted of low-level drug offences could be released in Ecuador under a new criminal code, as countries across the Americas slowly move away from harsh punishments for minor drug crimes.
Over 60 percent of people in Uruguay believe the country's marijuana law should be repealed, indicating continued widespread opposition to legalizing marijuana as the implementation process for the new legislation drags on.
The government in Jamaica has taken the first concrete steps towards decriminalizing marijuana use by approving changes to drug laws, paving the way for reform in a country where marijuana politics are complicated by both cultural and criminal factors.
Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto has said he is willing to discuss legalizing marijuana, becoming the latest regional leader to question the drug prohibition paradigm and begin to confront the failures of interdiction-based policies.