Southern Cone

Pro-legalization mayor defeated in Rio de Janeiro

Posted on November 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilRio de Janeiro's pro-legalization mayoral candidate Marcelo Freixo was defeated in the Oct. 30 run-off by the conservative Marcelo Crivella—a bishop in the evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Crivella, who won by a safe 20%, is also nephew of the founder of what Reuters calls the "evangelical megachurch." He had to back down from his past criticisms of homosexuality in gay-friendly Rio—as well as of Catholicism, Brazil's dominant religion. With the country still reeling over the August impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff of the left wing Workers Party (PT), the race in Rio represents a further gain for Brazil's political right.

Rio de Janeiro to get pro-legalization mayor?

Posted on October 11th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

BrazilLeft-wing populist candidate Marcelo Freixo made it past the first round in the race for mayor of Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2, and now goes on to face an ultra-conservative rival in a run-off at the end of the month. In recent days, drug legalization has emerged as a key issue in the race. Freixo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (POSL), is currently chair of the Human Rights Defense Commission of Rio de Janiero state's Legislative Assembly. He is now running against evangelical senator Marcelo Crivella of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) for the mayoralty. But another right-wing contender bounced out in the first round, Flávio Bolsonaro of the Social Christian Party (PSC), has thrown his support to Crivella—and is attempting to use the drug stigma against Freixo, exploiting his call for legalization as a means to de-escalate Rio's violent gang wars.

Deadly underside of Rio Olympics

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilWith the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over, the world media are moving on—but the city's poor favela dwellers are left to contend with a wave of murderous police terror. This was launched a year ago as part of an effort to pacify and sanitize the sprawling megalopolis for the Games. Amnesty International reports that over 100 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro state so far this year—the big majority young Black men. A total of 307 were killed by police in the state in 2015. At least eight people in Rio were actually killed by police during the Games—to little media coverage. The clean-up operation was, of course, disguised as a crackdown on drugs and crime. The inevitable rationale was provided by the narco economy in the favelas—informal urban settlements virtually abandoned by the government for anything other than militarized law enforcement.

Paraguay: drug czar steps down after deadly anti-cannabis op

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Southern Cone Paraguay's top anti-drug official stepped down June 20, two days after a botched anti-cannabis operation left a three-year-old girl dead at the hands of his troops. Luis Rojas resigned as head of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), under apparent pressure from President Horacio Cartes. The deadly operation took place in Nueva Italia municipality of Central department, where SENAD troops searching for cannabis plantations apparently fired on a van—which proved to be carrying members of the Zanotti Cavazzoni family, owners of a local sugar plantation and mill. The girl's uncle was also wounded in the attack. The girl was the grand-daughter of Ulrico Zanotti Cavazzoni, local sugar oligarch and land-owner. One wonders if Rojas would have been forced to resign if it had just been a peasant's daughter who was killed.

Uruguay marks first legal cannabis harvest

Posted on June 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Uruguay The two companies responsible for cannabis production in Uruguay this week began the country's first legal harvest, claiming some 300 grams each from hundreds of plants gown in licensed indoor or greenhouse operations. The president of the National Drug Board (JND), Juan Andrés Roballo, announced that "soon the first harvest from the licensed companies" will be hitting the nation's pharamcies. The companies, International Cannabis Corp (ICCorp) and Simbiosys, with facilities on the outskirts of Montevideo, planted in February under the close oversight of the government's Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). The harvest will continue next week; then another six weeks for drying, manicuring and packing before it arrives in stores. This means by August, Uruguayans will be able to purchase packets of five or 10 grams at 50 licensed pharmacies. The price is set at one euro or $1.20 per gram.

Cannabis coming to Uruguay pharmacies —at last

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

UruguayUruguay's government announced Oct. 1 the granting of licenses to two companies to grow cannabis for commercial distribution. Juan Andrés Roballo, head of the National Drug Board, said the two companies chosen out of 22 applicants were Symbiosys and Iccorp, both start-ups financed by Uruguayan and foreign capital. They will each be allowed to produce two metric tons of cannabis yearly—with the plantations to be guarded by government troops. Uruguayans will be able to purchase 10 grams (about a third of an ounce) weekly. Roballo told reporters that cannabis will go on sale in the country's  pharmacies "in no less than eight months from now."

Brazil: police implicated in Sao Paulo massacre

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilGunmen killed at least 18 people in outlying districts of Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, in a series of overnight attacks Aug. 14. Witnesses and video footage in several locations indicated that masked gunmen pulled up in a car before opening fire. In many cases they checked the victims' names before shooting, or asked if they had criminal records. At least six other people were injured in the attacks, in the districts of Osasco and Barueri. Authorities are said to be investigating whether the attacks were a coordinated campaign of revenge by off-duty officers following the deaths of two colleagues in the targeted districts the previous week.  Police in Brazil are responsible for more than 2,000 deaths per year, and rights groups say off-duty officers rarely face prosecution when they in engage in vigilante justice. (Reuters, BBC News, Aug. 15)

Amnesty: 'Trigger happy' police kill hundreds in Rio

Posted on August 6th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilAmnesty International in a report issued Aug. 3 charges that Brazil's military police have been responsible for more than 1,500 deaths in Rio de Janeiro in the last five years, accusinf them of a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy. Amnesty released the findings ahead of the one-year countdown to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The report, "You killed my son: Killings by military police in Rio de Janeiro," reveals that nearly 16% of the total homicides registered in the city in the last five years took place at the hands of on-duty police—1,519 in total. Just in the favela of Acari, in the city's north, Amnesty found evidence of "extrajudicial executions" in at least nine out of 10 killings committed by the military police in 2014. 

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