Andes

Bolivia doubles territory open to coca cultivation

Posted on March 9th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

coca leafBolivia's President Evo Morales signed into a law March 8 a bill passed by the country's congress that nearly doubles the area of national territory open to coca leaf cultivation. Law 906, or the General Law of Coca Leaf, envisions new legal commerical and industrial uses for the leaf. It replaces the far more restrictive Law 1008, passed during the Reagan-led drug war militarization of the Andes in 1988—when Bolivia's transition to democracy after years of military dictatorship was still new. "The hour has arrived to bury Law 1008, which sought to bury coca leaf in Bolivia," the presidency office said in a statement. "This is an historic day." The signing ceremony at the presidential palace was witnessesed by a delegation of coca-growers.

Peruvian motherhood for medical marijuana

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

PeruAn unprecedented—and completely unexpected—campaign for medical marijuana in Peru has been paradoxically sparked by a police raid on a collective n Lima last month. What local media accounts luridly called a "clandestine laboratory" in the capital's San Miguel district was busted by National Police in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 8, and five kilos of cannabis confiscated along with equipment. Turns out it was the hash-oil facility of a collective known as Buscando Esperanza (Seeking Hope)—made up mostly of mothers who were producing the oil for their offspring suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and the like. One of the moms, Ana Álvarez, has now emerged as Peru's national voice of medical marijuana.

Colombia: peasant strike against coca eradication

Posted on February 25th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ColombiaFor 48 hours Feb. 21-2, hundreds of peasant coca-growers shut down the main highway between the southern Colombian cities of Tumaco and Pasto. The feared anti-riot force, the Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron (ESMAD), was finally called in to clear the roadway, using tear-gas and rubber bullets to break up the estimated 1,200 cocaleros. But the highway was repeatedly re-taken by the protesters. The action was called by the newly-formed National Coordinator of Coca, Opium and Marijuana Producers (COCCAM) to oppose the government's renewed "forced eradication" of coca crops in Tumaco municipality. COCCAM called the resumption of forced eradication in the area a betrayal of government commitments under the recent peace accords with the FARC guerilla movement, according to a report on Contagio Radio.

Trump sanctions Venezuela veep as 'kingpin'

Posted on February 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

VenezuelaThe Trump administration has seriously turned up the heat on Venezuela, slapping sanctions on the country's vice president as a drug "kingpin." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Feb. 13 officially named Tareck Zaidan El Aissami as a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" under terms of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) of 1999. The order charges that El Aissami received pay-offs from a trafficking network linked to Mexico's Zetas narco-gang. Under the order, US nationals and corporations are barred from doing business with El Aissami, and all his assets within the country are frozen.

Bolivia: mass prisoner pardon to relieve overcrowding

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .
BoliviaBolivian President Evo Morales on Christmas Eve pardoned 1,800 prisoners held in facilities across the country—part of his ongoing effort to curtail overcrowding in the Andean nation's penal system. "The present decree's aim is to give amnesty and total or partial pardons to people who have been deprived of their liberty," Morales told a news conference in the central region of Cochabamba.

Colombia: FARC narco-factions refuse to lay down arms

Posted on December 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaThe historic peace process in Colombia is finally resulting in demobilization of the country's FARC guerilla fighters, who are now gathering at designated points in the countryside to turn over their arms. The effort has won President Juan Manuel Santos a Nobel Peace Prize. But FARC leaders admit that five regional commanders—said to be those most co-opted by the narco trade—are refusing to lay down arms, and have been officially expelled from the guerilla army.

Bolivia, Ecuador sign pact for legal coca trade

Posted on December 1st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

coca leafIn open defiance of the international ban, Bolivia has just announced that it is preparing to export coca-leaf products—initially mates (herbal teas) and liqueurs—to its Andean ally Ecuador. Didi Mercado, head of the Industrialization Unit at Bolivia's Vice-Ministry of Coca, told the Bolivian Information Agency Nov. 28 that exports are to begin under a trade deal signed a week earlier in La Paz. Mercado said that with Bolivia producing an annual 600 tons of legal coca leaf, it can easily meet the internal demand of both countries. And demand is expected to grow, with exports of coca-derived soft drinks, syrups and cereals foreseen.

Venezuelan First Family scions convicted of trafficking

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

VenezuelaAfter a high-profile but very quick trial in a US federal court in Manhattan, two young scions of Venezuela's First Family were convicted on Nov. 19 of conspiring to traffick more than 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—wife of Venezuela's embattled President Nicolás Maduro. The case came amid massive anti-government protests in Venezuela, and Cilia Flores charged that her nephews had been "kidnapped" by the DEA for political reasons. Popped just over a year ago in Haiti, they now face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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