How are Latin America’s anti-drug policies resonating among the region’s youth? Asuntos del Sur (ADS), a multinational think tank in Argentina and Chile, surveyed 4,000 people ages 18 to 34 across six countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico. The results, published in Estudio de Drogas y Opinión Pública 2012 (Study of Drugs and Public Opinion 2012), indicate that young Latin Americans are clamoring for change. When asked if police intervention was the most effective way to reduce drug use, only 3 percent of Mexicans and 24 percent of Salvadorans said yes. Similarly, while 23 percent of Salvadoran respondents approve legalization of illicit drugs, this figure surges to 80 percent among Argentines in the study.
Mexico is undergoing political change, following the election of President Enrique Peña Nieto and a new congress late last year. In response, Fundar—Centro de Análisis e Investigación (Fundar—Center for Analysis and Research), a nonpartisan institution based in Coyoacán, D.F., launched Propuestas para un nuevo sexenio (Proposals for a New Six-Year Term). This micro-site is divided into five key policy areas: legislative power; fiscal and budgetary transparency; health care; transparency and access to information; and the justice system and human rights. For each plank, Fundar teamed up with a roster of Mexican NGOs to spur debate about the country’s priorities and political trajectory in the current sexenio through 2018.
Transparency International’s annual report on perceived levels of public-sector corruption across 176 countries and territories reveals a troubling trend in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 (CPI) reports that two-thirds of LAC’s 32 countries register in the bottom half of all nations evaluated. The CPI is a composite index that includes a combination of surveys and corruption assessments, and countries are assigned a ranking between 0 (highly corrupt) and 100 (very clean). In the region, Haiti and Venezuela tied for the lowest score (19) and the lowest ranking (#165) of hemispheric countries among the 176 countries. Conversely, Barbados scored the highest in LAC (76, #15), followed by Chile and Uruguay (both 72, #20).