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Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike

The Increasing Decline of American Credibility

Santos wrote this in a Guardian op-ed: "We need to introduce a public health framework to the treatment of drug consumption focusing on prevention, attention, rehabilitation and re-socialisation of drug abusers." He did praise Obama for encouraging his controversial peace initiatives with the FARC -- a novel approach that does seem surprisingly good. "Many people warned me that it would be political suicide," Santos told Obama in opening remarks at the summit. "Making war is so much easier than making peace. And you not only believed it was possible, you encouraged me to go ahead, and gave me your full and enthusiastic support." Santos also honored Obama for opening relations with Cuba. Many on the right in Latin American and in the US feel Santos must have lost his mind.

With the ascendancy of a ruthless, inexperienced TV-star/real-estate-mogul as US president -- a man who got into the White House by slandering Obama as an illegal immigrant from the Dark Continent and calling Latin American immigrants “rapists” -- respect has turned to outright disdain. Eduardo Blasina, the director of something called the Montevideo Cannabis Museum, summed it up this way for The New York Times: “Today, what the United States says has never mattered less. We don’t see its president as a reasonable individual whose opinion is worth anything.”

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay, a small nation on the Atlantic coast south of Brazil and northeast of Argentina. Until recently, the amazingly humble Jose "Pepe" Mujica was president of Uruguay; he started the ball rolling on the legalization of marijuana. Mujica is a former guerrilla imprisoned and tortured during the days of the dirty wars in that region. As many will recall, that was when Henry Kissinger -- accessory to the murder of duly-elected President Salvador Allende in Chile -- liked to point out something called “the arc of history” didn’t pass through South America, which meant to Mr. Kissinger what went on down there didn’t really matter. It didn’t matter if friendly right-wing regimes murdered and disappeared citizens in the left-leaning opposition. It was a horrific time. Many of the disappeared were killed and their naked bodies flown out over the ocean, slit open so they’d sink when kicked out the door as unidentifiable shark chum. It’s always good to remember this period, lest it return like a Dracula sequel. One good way to remember is to use Netflicks for films like The Official Story, a memorable Argentine film about a conservative, childless high school history teacher whose husband (he’s in the secret police) brings home an adorable baby girl. This woman’s growing curiosity and her efforts to figure out where this child came from makes the film a powerful story.

story | by Dr. Radut