Stephen C. Webster
A U.S. Senate subcommittee report this week called into question efforts to curb drug exports from Latin America, suggesting that billions in tax dollars had been wasted in no-bid contracts with no oversight on how the money was being spent or whether efforts were succeeding.
The report comes just a week after a panel of formerly high-ranking officials — including the former presidents of Switzerland, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, along with a former U.N. Secretary General, a former U.S. Secretary of State, the prime minister of Greece and the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights — called for the drug war to shift its focus from enforcement and interdiction to medical treatment and harm-reduction policies.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government’s use of contractors, have largely failed,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, said in a media advisory. “Without adequate oversight and management we are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we’re getting in return.”