Tag Archives | Colombia

Colombia’s Controversial Cure for Coke Addicts: Give Them Marijuana

via The Star tumblr_ly5xcsShwF1qap9uuo1_500

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.

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.

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Explore the Ruins of Pablo Escobar’s Island Estate

Via Environmental Graffiti:
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.

Picture: Foantje (C)

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.… Read the rest

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Colombia To Legalize Marijuana And Cocaine

 South America continues to lead the way in forging a more enlightened approach? Drug trafficking will remain criminal, but citizens will be allowed to grow their own. Via the Global Post:

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.”

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Western Banks ‘Reaping Billions From Colombian Cocaine Trade’

Reports Ed Vulliamy in the Guardian:

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. ”Colombian society has suffered to almost no economic advantage from the drugs trade, while huge profits are made by criminal distribution networks in consuming countries, and recycled by banks which operate with nothing like the restrictions that Colombia’s own banking system is subject to.”…

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12 Secret Service Agents In Prostitution Scandal

Secret ServiceVia CBS News:

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.

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The New Cocaine Trade

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

John Lyons reports on some seismic shifts in where cocaine is produced, for the Wall Street Journal:

In the dusty town of Villa Tunari in Bolivia’s tropical coca-growing region, farmers used to barricade their roads against U.S.-backed drug police sent to prevent their leafy crop from becoming cocaine. These days, the police are gone, the coca is plentiful and locals close off roads for multiday block parties—not rumbles with law enforcement.

“Today, we don’t have these conflicts, not one death, not one wounded, not one jailed,” said Leonilda Zurita, a longtime coca-grower leader who is now a Bolivian senator, a day after a 13-piece Latin band wrapped up a boozy festival in town.

The cause for celebration is a fundamental shift in the cocaine trade that is complicating U.S. efforts to fight it. Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S.

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‘Operation Christmas’: Colombian Army Installs Giant Christmas Tree in Rebel-Held Territory (Video)

Operation ChristmasThe BBC reports:

The Colombian army says it has installed a giant Christmas tree in Farc rebel territory, to encourage guerrilla fighters to demobilize. Special forces infiltrated the remote Macarena mountain range to dress a 25m (82 ft) high tree with 2,000 lights.

Movement sensors will make the tree light up when guerrillas approach. The army says it will put up trees in nine other rebel-held zones to spread the message that Christmas is a good time to abandon armed struggle.

The Colombian government says more than 2,000 guerrillas demobilized this year under a scheme that gives them amnesty and help to return to civilian life. “Operation Christmas,” as it was code named, was carried out by elite troops using Blackhawk helicopters.

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3 Colombians on Facebook Hit List Killed

The famous social networking site has been turned into a virtual threatening network. When the first list was posted on the site authorities thought it was a joke, but if I received an e-mail notification stating my name on a hit list, I would not be laughing. CNN reports:

Three teens who were on a 69-name hit list posted on Facebook have been killed in the past 10 days in a southwestern Colombian town, officials say.

Police say they do not know who posted the list or why the names are on it. “It is still not clear,” Colombian national police spokesman Wilson Baquero told CNN. “This is part of the investigation.”

But officials note that a criminal gang known as Los Rastrojos and a Marxist guerrilla group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia operate in the area.

The hit list on Facebook, which was posted August 17, gave the people named three days to leave the town of Puerto Asis or be executed, said Volmar Perez Ortiz, a federal official whose title is defender of the public.

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