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Drug Law Reform in Latin America

Submitted by on July 25, 2010 – 6:22 pmNo Comment

The Washington Office on Latin America and the Transnational Institute have launched a new website, Drug Law Reform in Latin America, to serve as a one stop shop for information related to the movement to reform drug policy in Mexico and South America. The new website provides a general overview as to why, in the eyes of WOLA and TNI, the “war on drugs” has failed in Latin America and what proposed public policies have arisen as alternatives. Content is divided by five main issues: Decriminalization, Proportionality of sentences, Harm reduction, Reclassification of substances, and Unscheduling the coca leaf. Each category page includes a brief explanatory paragraph, which is followed by a collection of policy papers and blog posts. Content is also divided by country, with a handy map that provides an overview of national decriminalization movements throughout the region.

The website also features two short videos that show the effects of aggressive drug criminalization on a single mother in Ecuador who sold drugs to provide for her children, and Rosa Julia Leyva Martinez from Mexico, who said she was tortured into signing a confession when airport authorities found a bag of heroine in her belongings. Both the website and the videos were featured on the front page of on July 13, the day of its launch. The following morning Colombian pop star Juanes linked to both videos from his Twitter account, which brought a flood of visitors. The Twitter message also appeared on his Facebook fan page which attracted over 650 “likes” and over 100 comments, mostly from admiring young women. The Spanish-language versions of the videos have been viewed over 2,500 times compared to only 370 times for the English-versions of the videos.

The new website includes a blog authored by Tom Blickman. Other drug policy reform blogs include Transform and the blog of the International Harm Reduction Association.

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