The Colombian government has announced a new strategy of offering land titles to coca growers in return for abandoning their illicit crops, a bold move, but one that fails to address what farmers can grow and sell instead.
Coca growers in west Bolivia have demanded the government halt eradication and reclassify their crops as "legal," highlighting the delicate balancing act required of President Evo Morales if he is to find success with his "coca yes, cocaine no" policy.
After four decades of the monologue on the "war on drugs," the Americas have opened the door for debate, breaking the taboo against discussing new approaches to dealing with the problem. However, this does not mean there is a consensus regarding the alternatives and even less that legalization or decriminalization are just around the corner.
The 43rd Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly concluded with a mixed message on drug policy that highlights the divisions still rife in the region over the best way to tackle drugs and organized crime.
Ongoing clashes between coca growers and police over coca eradication in northwest Bolivia highlights the strained relationship between the security forces and the coca sector, although officials say they have now reached an agreement.
Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox has backed an ex-Microsoft businessman's plans to create the first legal "Big Marijuana" business, highlighting how quickly commerce will look to capitalize on relaxed drug policy.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales said his country is better off now that it is free from US interference in counternarcotics, just days after a top level US official said the United States was cutting all counternarcotics ties.
Though a casual observer might view President Enrique Peña Nieto's strategy for combating gangsters as much the same as his predecessor's -- and his five-year development plan has some similarities to the previous administration's -- Mexico's leader and his aides insist that things are much changed and far more hopeful these days, despite signs to the contrary.
The newly published OAS report "Drugs in the Americas" not only marks a step towards deepening the debate on global drug policy, it also offers a glimpse of what effects a drug war paradigm shift could have on organized crime.
Coffee producers in Bolivia are abandoning coffee to cultivate coca, says the head of the country's coffee federation, illustrating the appeal of a crop that is less susceptible to wide price fluctuations on global commodity markets.