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.

Bolivia tilting back to prohibitionist stance?

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

AndesPresident Barack Obama once again singled out Washington's biggest political adversaries in Latin America for censure in this year's White House report on global anti-drug efforts. The annual memorandum to the State Department, "Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries," released Sept. 12, lists 17 Latin American countries out of a total of 22 around the world. As has now become routine, Bolivia, Venezuela and Burma are blacklisted as countries that have "failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to the obligations under international counternarcotic agreements." (InSight Crime, Sept. 13)

'Re-narcotization' feared in Colombia

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaDespite progress in peace talks with the FARC guerillas, Colombia can't seem to escape endemic narco-violence. On Sept. 14, a street gun-battle sparked panic in the tourist district of Cartagena, the Caribbean resort city. The clash began as sicarios (hired assassins), in broad daylight, tried to kill a paramilitary honcho being held by police. The three sicarios, wearing prison guard uniforms, attempted to enter the building where Jhon Jairo Jimenez AKA "Pichi" is held under house arrest. Two assailants were wounded and apprehended, while a third escaped. Wanted for coke trafficking, Pichi turned state witness after his arrest last year, ratting out his former cohorts in the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, popularly known as "Los Urabeños." (Colombia Reports, Sept. 14)

Colombia: cocaine mega-busts keep coming

Posted on July 6th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Colombia Amid moves toward peace in Colombia, the goad of the war—the country's lucratice cocaine trade—clearly remains robust. In an international operation announced June 30, Colombian police joined with US and Italian authorities to confiscate a whopping 11 tons of cocaine in refrigerated containers ostensibly shipping tropical fruits to Europe. The stuff was mostly seized in Colombia, but was bound for the US and Europe. Of the 33 arrested in the operation, 22 were popped in Colombia and the rest in Italy. (El Tiempo, June 30)

Obama commutes sentences of 42 drug war POWs

Posted on June 6th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ObamaPresident Barack Obama on June 3 announced that he had commuted the sentences of 42 inmates convicted of drug offenses as part of his ongoing effort against "outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws." The White House statement said: "The individuals receiving a presidential commutation today have more than repaid their debt to society and earned this second chance." The 42 were serving sentences of up to life in prison for non-violent offenses. The statement noted that Obama has now commuted the sentences of 348 such convicts—more than the past seven presidents combined.

Obama signs draconian new drug law

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchTo little fanfare, President Barack Obama on May 16 signed into law the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act—further extending the global reach of US narcotics enforcement. The law criminalizes manufacture of drugs anywhere in the world if the producers "intend, know, or have probable cause to believe" the substances will be illegally imported into the United States. The language has been attacked as overbroad, potentially applying to any link of the production chain—down to lowly peasant growers of cannabis, coca leaf or opium.

Honduras: son of ex-prez guilty on coke charge

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaThe 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras has recently been in the news due to revelations that it was lubricated by then-Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Now comes the embarassing news that the son of Honduras' ex-president Porfirio Lobo has pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges in a federal court in Manhattan, and faces a mandatory 10-year prison term. Fabio Lobo, 44, admitted to scheming to import a “multi-ton load” of cocaine into the US. Federal prosecutors said the younger Lobo was snared by DEA informants who went undercover as traffickers and started collecting evidence against him in 2013. They popped him in Haiti a year ago, and put him on a plane to New York. Said US Attorney Preet Bharara: "Whether you are a street-level dealer, a member of a cartel, or the son of a former foreign president, drug dealing is drug dealing. It is a serious federal crime for which you will be prosecuted."

Militarized anti-narco raids in Honduras

Posted on May 4th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Central AmericaSecurity forces in Honduras on May 4 carried out raids on suspected narco-gang safe-houses at various locations, bringing out helicopters and heavy weaponry, and placing residential neighborhoods under siege. Code-named "Tornado," the operation coordinated troops from the National Police, Military Police, the elite Inter-institutional National Security Force (FUSINA), and the Technical Criminal Invesitgation Agency (ATIC). Locations were raided in the capital Tegucigalpa as well as the crime-stricken second city of San Pedro Sula, the Caribbean port of La Ceiba, and elsewhere. In Valle de Amarateca in the central department of Francisco Morazán, security forces seized at least two assualt rifles, fragmentation grenades, police unfiorms, and unspecified quanitities of cocaine, cannabis and cash. At least 12 people were arrested in the raids, including minors. The raids were officially called to apprehend gang members wanted for assassination and extortion. (La Prensa, May 4)

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