Southern Cone

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. 

Chile moves towards cannabis decrim

Posted on July 7th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Southern ConeCheers broke out in the public gallery July 7 as Chile's lower-house Chamber of Deputies voted 68-to-39 with five abstentions to decriminalize cannabis—including a provision for cultivation. The reform of the country's anti-drug statute, Law 20.000, would "depenalize" the possession of up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) and the growing of up to six plants. The bill makes reference to recreational, medical and spiritual use of the herb. To become law, it still has to be studied by a health committee before the Chamber of Deputies votes again on each specific provision. It will next pass to the senate, and then to the desk of President Michelle Bachelet, who is expected to approve it.

Police extermination campaign in Brazil's favelas?

Posted on November 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilA harrowing report on National Public Radio Nov. 9 points to the possibility that the crackdown on favela gangs in the prelude to this year's contentious Brazil World Cup may have actually been a police extermination campaign of favela youth. On June 11—one day before the World Cup opened—two officers of the Military Police picked up three Black teenagers in Rio de Janeiro's Zona Norte. The three hadn't committed any crime, although they did have a history of petty offenses. The officers drove them up to the wooded hills of the Morro do Sumaré area, above the city. One was shot in the head and killed. One was shot in the leg and the back and left for dead. Another escaped. We know what happened because the officers left their patrol car cameras on, and the videos appeared on Brazil's Globo TV.  One officer taunts the youths: "We haven't even started beating you yet and you are already crying? Stop crying! You are crying too much! Be a man!" The officers are then heard saying "Gotta kill the three of them." And finally: "Two less. If we do this every week, we can reduce their number. We can reach the goal." The "goal" was apparently a crime-reduction target ahead of the World Cup.

Cannabis clubs register in Uruguay —but backlash brews

Posted on November 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

UruguayUruguay started registering cannabis growers' clubs at the end of October. Under the plan, licensed clubs of up to 45 members will be allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants annually, with  each club member permitted to produce up to 480 grams per year. This is an advance on the regulation approved in August, allowing personal cultivation of up to six plants. (BBC News, Oct. 31) And the private sector may get on board next. The government's Institute for Control and Regulation of Cannabis (IRCCA) reports that 22 private companies—10 of them foreign-based—have expressed interest in producing or distributing cannabis in the small South American nation. (TeleSUR, Aug. 28)

Who's new

  • Baba Israel
  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman