Colombia

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Posted on March 7th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

Colombia's National Police in prostitution scandal

Posted on March 7th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged .

ColombiaColombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez on Feb. 29 formally opened an investigation into Gen. Rodolfo Palomino, the country's recently resigned National Police chief, over his alleged involvement in a gay prostitution ring being run within the force. The so-called "Comunidad del Anillo" (Community of the Ring) was exposed by a number of former cadets at the General Santander Police Academy in Bogotá, who said top police officials and congressmen used the sexual services of cadets. Both Palomino and vice-minister of the Interior Carlos Ferro Solanilla resigned last month as the Prosecutor General announced the impending investigation. One police captain who came forward claims he was drugged and raped by members of the ring.

Plan Colombia to become 'Peace Colombia'?

Posted on February 5th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos met at the White House with Barack Obama Feb. 4 to mark 15 years since the initiation of the Plan Colombia aid package, amid signs of hope that the South American country's 50-year armed conflict is winding down. The two of course congratulated each other on the success of the program, which has delivered some $10 billion to Colombia in mostly military aid since 2001. They also discussed a proposed new aid program that Santos is calling the "second phase" of Plan Colombia and Obama proposed actually be called "Peace Colombia." Obama said he supports a package of $450 million annually to support the peace process in Colombia—an incease over leat year's $300 million. This would go towards implementing the reforms to be instated following a peace deal with the FARC guerillas—with a conitnued focus on drug enforcement. Obama said the US "will keep working to protect our people as well as the Colombian people from the ravages of illegal drugs and the violence of drug traffickers." (Colombia Reports, Feb. 4; El Espectador, Feb. 3)

Cannabis starting to replace coca leaf in Colombia's cultivation zones

Posted on January 24th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaOn Colombia's eastern plains, the Llanos Orientes, campesinos are starting to abandon cultivation of coca leaf for cannabis, military commanders in the region say. “"In this zone, marijuana has been replacing coca because there is more of a market for retail and micro-trafficking," Gen. Oswaldo Peña Bermeo, commander of the army's local Seventh Brigade, told Bogotá's El Tiempo newspaper Jan. 13. He spoke just after his unit had eradicated 5,400 plants on a half-hectare plot at the vereda (hamlet) of Cafetales, in Lejanías municipality, Meta department. Gen. Peña Bermeo named the varieties as Colombia's traditional "Punto Rojo" (Red Point), a stand-by sativa, and "Creepy"—a bit of a catch-all in South America for any hybridized indica strain.

Colombia: medical marijuana legalization challenge to Washington

Posted on December 24th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaFollowing through on a pledge made last month, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Dec. 22 signed a decree broadly legalizing medical marijuana. The new regulation—making it legal to grow, process, import and export cannabis for medical and scientific use—was hailed by Santos as positioning Colombia "at the forefront in the fight against disease." In a line clearly aimed at placating Washington, he also insisted that "the medicinal use of cannabis does not go counter to our international commitments in the field of drug control."

Colombia: countdown to legal medical marijuana

Posted on November 20th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, in an interview with BBC Mundo Nov. 13, said he was ready to issue a decree legalizing medical marijuana, and would act within a matter of days. "It is now scientifically proven that marijuana has a variety of medicinal attributes," he said. "There is great demand, and there are companies in Canada and the United States that are utilizing marijuana for a variety of therapeutic and medicinal treatments." He said the decree would provide a regulatory framework for production, distribution and commercialization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

US to seek extradition of Colombian cocaleros?

Posted on November 20th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAfter 50 years of internal war, Colombia finally seems to be approaching a peace accord with leftist guerillas. But the US Senate is considering legislation that could throw a big obstacle on Colombia's path to peace. The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, sponsored by Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), aims to target every link in the chain of narco-trafficking—right down the impoverished peasants who grow the coca. The bill has unanimously passed the Senate twice before, but has never cleared the House. On Oct. 7, it passed the Senate a third time, and a big push is on to make it law of the land. "Since drug cartels are continually evolving, this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace," said Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

Narco-Imperialism Deconstructed

Posted on September 6th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

PaleyDawn Paley is one courageous journalist. Her travels through Mexico, Colombia and Central America have brought her to the frontlines of "drug war" danger and militarization, producing first-hand reportage from communities terrorized by narco-gangs, paramilitaries and "official" security forces alike. In Drug War Capitalism (AK Press, Oakland, 2015) Paley portrays these forces as constituting a single nexus of terror, thoroughly integrated into the structures of the "legal" economy.

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