The commitment of heads of state is crucial in pushing for drug policy reform since they have the power to challenge the current prohibitionist framework at its political roots.
Juan Manuel Santos. Colombia’s president is an increasingly vocal proponent of reform, who, since coming to power, has drawn significant attention to the suffering of Latin American producer countries, the unintended consequences of current interenational drug control. He is now a major advocate calling for a rethink of the failed War on Drugs.
Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala is another Central American president leading the debate on a need for a global shift in drug policy and challenging the U.S to move in the same direction.
Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, now serving his second term, hasn't endorsed wider drug policy reform, but has instead focused on the legalisation of the practice of traditional coca leaf chewing in Bolivia. In his campaign he dared to withdraw the country from the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and despite objections from several countries later managed to re-accede to the convention with a special dispensation recognising the practice as legal in Bolivia, effectively renegotiating the UN conventions to allow for more progressive reforms.
Morales has also been highly critical of the broader 'war on drugs' paradigm - which he views as failed and counterproductive. See, for example, this speech at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs earlier this year.
Ernesto Zedillo, the former Mexican president, and another member of the Global Commission, has also been a co-author of previously mentioned letters calling for alternatives to prohibition to be explored. Zedillo is also the Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. In one of the Center’s publications entitled ‘Rethinking the War on Drugs through the US - Mexico Prism‘ he writes that: