The Substance Beyond the Secret Service Scandal

Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images

Would legalization help? Officers inspect a marijuana-filled van after a chase near the U.S.-Mexico border

It wasn't all secret service scandal and media titillation. The "hooker summit" in Cartagena, Colombia, was actually a highly significant event for Latin America and its relations with the U.S. The 33 countries represented at the Summit of the Americas, mostly by their Presidents, meet every three years and rarely generate any newsworthy conclusions. At best, the conclaves have allowed the U.S. to float interesting but ultimately unviable ideas — the Free Trade Area of the Americas in 1994 — or other countries to shoot them down, as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and the late Néstor Kirchner of Argentina did with...

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