The pursuit of a failed U.S. drug policy in Latin America
Hildenbrand, Daniel R.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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This thesis examines why U.S. counterdrug policy in Latin America focuses primarily on the supply side of the drug trade despite the policy’s showing minimal effectiveness and in most cases making the region more volatile. To accomplish this objective congressional testimonies pertaining to U.S. drug policy in Latin America were reviewed in an attempt to find what factors influence politicians’ policy recommendations. The findings from the congressional testimony reviews revealed that politicians were more inclined to align or disagree with the political party that held the Presidency based on their own party affiliation. Additionally, SOUTHCOM posture statements and the QDR’s were examined to see how the military leadership viewed and or argued for funding to stop the supply side of the drug trade in Latin America. Military leaders placed increased importance on the counterdrug mission as it pertained to terrorism and during times of financial uncertainty. To break the cycle of supply-side counterdrug policies in Latin America, politicians and military leadership should focus on domestic demand-side counterdrug policies. Demand-side counterdrug policies have proven effective both in the U.S. and abroad. Overall, they are less costly, both financially and in terms of human lives.
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