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Past Event

Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift

Violence and the organized crime associated with the narcotics trade are critical problems in Latin America. Confronted with a situation that is growing worse by the day, it is imperative to reevaluate and update the strategy pursued in the region over the past 30 years.

On April 6, the Brookings Institution hosted former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former President of Colombia César Gaviria for the U.S. release of the report “Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift” by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. As co-presidents of the Commission, Presidents Cardoso and Gaviria presented findings of the report and discussed its recommendations for reducing harm caused by illegal narcotics to people, societies and public institutions. Mauricio Cárdenas, senior fellow and director of the Latin America Initiative at Brookings, moderated the discussion.

Following their remarks, a panel of experts evaluated the report’s recommendations. Panelists included Kevin Casas-Zamora, Brookings Latin America Initiative senior fellow; José Miguel Insulza, secretary general at the Organization of American States; and John Walters, executive vice president at the Hudson Institute. Moisés Naím, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, moderated the discussion.


Session 1


Mauricio Cárdenas

Former Brookings Expert

Minister of Finance and Public Credit - Republic of Colombia


César Gaviria

Co-president, Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy

Session 2

Kevin Casas-Zamora

Former Brookings Expert

Director, Programa Estado de Derecho, Diálogo Interamericano

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