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Bolivia: progress seen in coca policy

Posted on January 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

coca leafTotal area planted with coca in Bolivia dropped by up to 13% last year, according to separate reports by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Bolivia stepped up efforts to eradicate unauthorized coca plantings, and reported an increase in seizures of cocaine and cocaine base—even as the Evo Morales government expanded areas where coca can be grown legally. "It's fascinating to look at a country that kicked out the United States ambassador and the DEA, and the expectation on the part of the United States is that drug war efforts would fall apart," Kathryn Ledebur, director of the Andean Information Network, told the New York Times. Instead, she said, Bolivia's approach is "showing results." 

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

Colombia: "armed strike" against glyphosate spraying

Posted on May 31st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaJimmy Díaz Burbano, governor of Colombia's Putumayo admitted that large areas of the lowland jungle department were shut down by a "paro armado"—a civil strike enforced by the guns of the FARC guerillas. He said the strike had been called in response to government spraying of the glyphosate herbicide across the territory along the Río Putumayo to wipe out coca leaf crops. Díaz said spraying hurts the campesinos and provokes a reaction from the illegal armed groups they sell their coca to, calling for a dialogue on the issue. "I will be a bridge between the community and the Colombian state and do everything possible to assure that the people are heard," he said. (Diario del Sur, Nariño, May 29)

Colombia: new National Police chief broaches legalization

Posted on May 9th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Colombia Gen. José Roberto León, number-two man in Colombia's militarized National Police force, has been fingered to be the force's new chief starting next week. Upon his appointment, he issued a stern warning to drug traffickers: "The National Police is out there, using all its capacities to capture or neutralize you." But León also stated that he agreed with President Juan Manuel Santos' position on drug legalization: "My position is the same as President Santos. The Colombian government has the moral authority to open the debate and, as indicated by [Santos], it is necessary to review the entire anti-drug strategy to explore new ideas and strategies enabling greater effectiveness in the fight against drug trafficking. Another point is that people who are addicted to drugs, especially marijuana, should receive medical treatment, so the issue becomes a matter of public health." (Colombia Reports, May 7) (Sic: cannabis, of course, is not addictive.)

Colombia: lawmakers broach decrim of coca, cannabis cultivation

Posted on March 31st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ColombiaLawmakers in Colombia have proposed decriminalizing cultivation of the coca leaf and cannabis to undercut the narco mafias. Proponents say the move would reduce prices and give peasants more incentive to grow other crops. The bill will be debated in the coming days by the lower house of Colombia's congress, the Chamber of Representatives. But Colombia's Justice Ministry says the move would violate Colombia's commitments to international narcotics treaties. "We have to be particularly prudent and particularly cautious," said Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra.

US chews out Peru on coca eradication; Bolivia chews back

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

The US State Department's 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy report contains harsh words for Peru, lamenting the country's "slow advance" in coca leaf eradication. The report says the country has 53,000 hectares under coca cultivation. Colombia has 100,000 hectares—but Peru's total has increased in recent years, while Colombia's has dropped. (Although Peru has challenged these claims.) The report calls out Peru's Customs Service, Coast Guard, Port Authority and Public Ministry as blocking progress in the anti-narcotics struggle. State Department analyst Pedro Yaranga told Lima's La Republica that "there does not exist a decision to attack the coca source areas [cuencas cocaleras]." He particularly named the Upper Huallaga Valley and Apurímac-Ene River Valley (VRAE).

Peru: anti-drug chief who suspended coca eradication resigns

Posted on January 11th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

coca leafRicardo Soberón, the anti-drug chief who last year briefly suspended coca eradication in Peru, resigned under pressure from the administration of President Ollanta Humala Jan. 10. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) appointed Carmen Masías Claux, a psychologist who is an advocate of eradication, to replace Soberón as head of the National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA). The Council of Ministers is now led by the man who was interior minister at the time of Soberón's suspension of the program, Oscar Valdes—who publicly disagreed with the suspension, and ordered the program's resumption within a week.

Venezuela, Bolivia: protecting or fighting the cartels?

Posted on December 19th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Even as the White House has censured Venezuelan officials for "narco-terrorist" ties, AP reported Dec. 15 that Venezuela handed a top Colombian drug trafficking suspect to US authorities. The US had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco AKA "Valenciano." InsightCrime informs us that "Valenciano" led the "Oficina de Envigado" criminal organization, seen as a successor to the Medellín Cartel. He was arrested last month in Maracay, west of Caracas.

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