President Barack Obama heads to Mexico to meet with new President Enrique Peña Nieto this week, and the ongoing joint effort to combat drugs and organized crime is likely to be part of the conversation. But the visit also comes just as the discussion surrounding the so-called "war on drugs" has begun to shift among Latin American leaders, as Jonah Engle argues in his new article for Foreign Policy.
In "Blow Back," Engle paints a vivid picture of the drug-torn regions of Colombia -- one of America's staunchest allies when it comes to fighting trafficking. As drug-related violence and instability across the region have continued to worsen, prominent Latin American political figures have begun to rethink the last 30 years of international drug policy. "It wasn't supposed to be this way," Engle writes.
Above: Though it appears on the surface to be a poor city, Buenaventura, Colombia's biggest port, is considered the "jewel in the crown" for drug traffickers. "Whoever controls access to this port, in criminal terms, is able to hide drug consignments in the tens of thousands of containers that leave those facilities every week and go all over the world," InSight Crime co-director Jeremy McDermott told Engle. As trade at the port has increased, it has become harder for customs officials to inspect all the cargo shipped from Colombia to the United States, Engle says.
In this photo, an engineer looks at the seaport in Buenaventura, department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, on Feb. 26, 2013.