Tag Archives | Colombia
The benefits versus harm of vaccines is a hot topic at the moment, especially in Los Angeles where whooping cough is making a resurgence, allegedly due to wealthy parents withholding their children from vaccinations. That’s not to say that all vaccines are good or bad; consider the events in Colombia where a town has been plagued by a mystery illness that’s been squarely blamed on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, reported via AFP/Yahoo News:
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El Carmen de Bolivar (Colombia) – A mystery illness is plaguing girls in this town in northern Colombia, and locals say a vaccine against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, is to blame.
First their hands and feet feel cold. Then they go pale and cannot move. Some convulse and fall to the floor.
In El Carmen de Bolivar, near the port of Cartagena, dozens of teenagers have experienced similar symptoms.
Today in New York City, the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland join with Kofi Annan and others to call for the end of drug criminalization. They are also calling for legal and regulated use of psychoactive substances. This press conference is being held at 9:45 AM by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:
Via Drug Policy Alliance:
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Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others.
The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in the afternoon following the press conference.
They’re thinking that he might have had an allergic reaction to the potent psychedelic brew, but who knows? The fact that they just dumped the kid’s body on the side of the road doesn’t exactly suggest that he was dealing with a reputable group of people.
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The body of a British teenager has been found by the road in a Colombian forest, after he took part in a “shaman experience” advertised for tourists.
His family have said that Henry Miller, 19, from Kingsdown in Bristol, took part in a local tribal ritual, drinking a herbal concoction known as yagé and apparently suffering a fatal reaction to the hallucinogenic infusion.
Reports suggest that Miller was with a group of foreign tourists – all of whom had paid $50 (£36) for the experience and who drank the brew together – but who were ushered back to their lodgings when Miller took ill with the assurance that the tribespeople were looking after him.
via The Star
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA—Marijuana has long been accused of being a gateway to deadlier vices. But could cannabis be a swinging door that might also lead people away from hard drugs? That’s what this capital city is trying to find out.
In a controversial public health project, Bogota will supply marijuana to 300 addicts of bazuco, a cheap cocaine derivative that generates crack-like highs and is as addictive as heroin.
Bogota has 7,500 bazuco users among its 9,500 homeless population, said Ruben Dario Ramirez, director of the Center for the Study and Analysis of Coexistence and Security, which is spearheading the project.
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Addicts are often driven to crime to support their habit, turning parts of this thriving city into bazuco wastelands where junkies huddle to smoke the drug. In the last three years, 277 homeless people have been murdered, he said.
For the most desperate users, the cannabis cure may be the only way out.
Ride along with urban explorer Foantje to the former island estate of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. In ruins now, Escobar’s expansive property must have been grand in its heyday.
Escobar was arguably the most infamous of Colombia’s drug lords. At the height of his power, he controlled over 80 percent of the cocaine trade and had a personal net worth of over $3 billion. While the drug lord carefully cultivated a “Robin Hood” image among the citizens of Medellín by building churches, schools and soccer fields, he was in reality a bloodthirsty, ruthless man who murdered his rivals and any law enforcement officials he couldn’t bribe. After Escobar’s assassination of a presidential candidate, Colombian officials negotiated his surrender and imprisonment. However, this was no regular prison: It was built specifically for Escobar, and had all of the amenities of a luxury resort. When public outcry grew too much to ignore, it was decided that he would be moved to a regular prison.… Read the rest
Colombia has decriminalized cocaine and marijuana, saying that people cannot be jailed for possessing the drugs for personal use. Anyone caught with less 20 grams of marijuana or one gram of cocaine for personal use will not be prosecuted or detained, but could be required to receive treatment, depending on their level of intoxication.
Colombia is also moving toward legalizing drug crops. The country’s House of Representatives in May passed the first draft of a bill that would decriminalize growing illegal drug plants, allowing residents to grow coca plants, marijuana plants and opium poppies. But representative Hugo Velasquez Jaramillo was quick to note that although the plants would be legalized, “the processing and trafficking of drugs would remain subject to criminal sentencing.”
Reports Ed Vulliamy in the Guardian:
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The vast profits made from drug production and trafficking are overwhelmingly reaped in rich “consuming” countries – principally across Europe and in the US – rather than war-torn “producing” nations such as Colombia and Mexico, new research has revealed. And its authors claim that financial regulators in the west are reluctant to go after western banks in pursuit of the massive amount of drug money being laundered through their systems.
The most far-reaching and detailed analysis to date of the drug economy in any country – in this case, Colombia – shows that 2.6% of the total street value of cocaine produced remains within the country, while a staggering 97.4% of profits are reaped by criminal syndicates, and laundered by banks, in first-world consuming countries.
“The story of who makes the money from Colombian cocaine is a metaphor for the disproportionate burden placed in every way on ‘producing’ nations like Colombia as a result of the prohibition of drugs,” said one of the authors of the study, Alejandro Gaviria.
Via CBS News:
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Members of the president’s Secret Service detail, including a supervisor, are in what looks to be some pretty hot water. At least one United States Secret Service agent is alleged to have sought the services of a prostitute in Cartagena, Colombia, where President Obama is visiting for the Summit of the Americas. CBS News has learned that one of the agents allegedly involved with the prostitute is a supervisor of the Counter Terror Assault Team (CAT). The CAT team is responsible for advance planning and response and is not part of the president’s protective detail.
A source in the Secret Service tells CBS News that one or more of the officers were involved with prostitutes and that there was a dispute over payment. One prostitute went to the police, who notified the State Department. The agents stayed at Hotel Caribe, where the international press is staying. A former Secret Service agent said the American Embassy in Colombia directed the entire division of 12 to be sent back to the United States because it was an embarrassment for the president and the U.S.