Pastor calls the problem in Mexico “even worse than Chicago during the Prohibition era” and said a solution similar to what ended that violence is needed now.

“What worked in the U.S. was not Eliot Ness,” he said, referring to the federal agent famous for fighting gangsters in 1920s and ‘30s. “It was the repeal of Prohibition.”

That viewpoint has picked up some high-level support in Latin America.

Last week, the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil called for the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use and a change in strategy on the war on drugs at a meeting in Brazil of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy.

“The problem is that current policies are based on prejudices and fears and not on results,” former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said at a news conference, in which the 17-member commission’s recommendations were presented.

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