Drug Policy in Guatemala: Constraints and Opportunities

Book chapter in Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas, pp 53-70.

Authors: Amanda Feilding and Juan Fernández Ochoa

Editors: Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar and  Thiago Rodrigues

Year: 2016


In the last few years, Guatemala has emerged as a leading voice in the drug policy reform debate. This chapter sheds light on the roots of this shift in the national discourse and assesses its depth and potential implications. Our research will be presented in three parts. Part one explores the origins of Guatemala’s drug problem, its transformation into a pivotal transit country for cocaine trafficking at the end of the 1980s and the destructive impact of the externally driven counter-narcotic strategy. The second part analyzes the recent government-led rebuttal of the “War on Drugs” and its implications, both nationally and internationally. Finally, the third part evaluates the reach of this rhetorical shift, as well as the difficulties of its translation into effective policies at home. The study concludes by characterizing the country’s efforts to regain ownership over its own drug policy.

You can purchase the whole book Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas from Amazon, or a separate chapter from Springer.

Labate_Drug Policies and politics of drugs in the Americas 2016