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50 Years of the Failed Drug War and its Consequences in Latin America: A Conversation with Former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo

Ernesto Zedillo and Kasia Malinowska

Former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which has called for a fundamental rethinking of drug policy across the world. He has publicly supported countries having the freedom to decriminalize the consumption of drugs and to legally regulate drug markets, stating about the current drug control regime, “What we have done is to simply feed organized crime with this rather stupid policy.”

In this event, former President Zedillo, currently director of the Center for the Study of Globalization at Yale University, joins Open Society’s Global Drug Policy Program director Kasia Malinowska in a conversation about the United States’ 50-year war on drugs, its disastrous effects in Mexico and Latin America, and the untold social, economic, and political damage it has caused in both consuming and producing nations.

This conversation is part of a series of ongoing panel discussions and events that the Open Society Foundations will host to spotlight the 50th anniversary of the unjust and racist “war on drugs,” initiated by President Richard Nixon. The United States has spent billions of dollars on expanding its criminal justice infrastructure to accommodate increasingly aggressive policing, encouraged other countries to adopt oppressive drug policies, and has devastated Black and brown communities, even as levels of drug dependence and overdose deaths have spiraled out of control. Join us in holding our leaders accountable and promoting drug policies guided by social justice, public health, and human rights.


  • Kasia Malinowska


    Kasia Malinowska is director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program.

  • Ernesto Zedillo


    Ernesto Zedillo was president of Mexico from 1994–2000 and is currently the Frederick Iseman ’74 director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

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