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License opium farming to win in Afghanistan

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
The Taipei Times (Taiwan)
URL: 
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2007/07/15/2003369683

IPS's Drug Policy Video and Speaker Series -- Colombia

Please join us for Part VII of Intersections in the War on Drugs, A FREE Summer Video and Speaker Series. VIDEO: The War on Drugs: Colombia SPEAKER: Sanho Tree, Institute for Policy Studies Brown bag lunch series, beverages provided. For more information contact: Aaron Sundquist (202) 234-9382. TO SEE THE FULL SCHEDULE FOR THE DRUG POLICY FILM SERIES VISIT: http://www.ips-dc.org/projects/drugpolicy/dppsummerseries07.htm
Date: 
Fri, 07/20/2007 - 12:00pm - 1:45pm
Location: 
1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC
United States

Afghan minister resigns amid new poppy crop

Location: 
Kabul
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
USA Today
URL: 
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-07-08-afghan-poppy_N.htm

Chavez subsidizes Bolivian coca production, will buy all legal coca products

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
VHeadline.com (IL)
URL: 
http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=74350

Reaping unintended consequences

Location: 
Publication/Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
URL: 
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/01/EDG3IQ8J6H1.DTL

The opium economy: A world awash in heroin

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
The Economist (UK)
URL: 
http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9409154

Latin America: House Votes to Shift Andean Initiative Anti-Drug Funding to Development

The US House of Representatives voted last Friday to reduce funding for Colombian security forces under the Andean Initiative and increase development assistance. The measure passed by the House also cuts funding and creates tighter conditions for aerial spraying to curb coca cultivation. The measure, passed as part of the 2008 aid foreign aid bill, HR 2764, now heads for the Senate, where Democratic critics of the Bush administration's Colombia policy lay in wait.

Since 2000, the Congress has appropriated more than $4.3 billion—more than $3.3 billion for police and military—for the Bush administration's Andean Initiative, the US effort to wipe out the region's coca producing capability and related cocaine economy. But despite all the billions spent and the hundreds of thousands of acres of Colombian farmland sprayed, coca production remains at roughly the level it was in 2000 and cocaine prices in the US continue to plummet, a key indicator of ample supplies.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/vitalia-merida-in-backyard.jpg
Six Federations (Bolivian) coca growers' union member (and former leader) Vitalia Merida in her backyard. She says there is peace now in the Chapare, but no prosperity. Her kids don't want to go to school because they have no money; instead, they want to leave and work in the city. (Photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith, February 2007)
Military assistance has accounted for more than 75% of all US aid under the initiative since its inception. This bill would lower that share to 55%, with 45% going for social and humanitarian aid, including for the first time funds for the country's Afro-Colombian minority.

According to an analysis by the Center for International Policy, the Bush administration sought $450 million for the Colombian military for next year, but the House slashed that by $160 million. And while the Bush administration sought $139.5 million for development assistance, the House funded it at a level of $241 million, making economic and social assistance account for 45% of funds under the aid bill, compared to the 24% it would have been under the Bush proposal.

In its narrative report accompanying the bill, the House Appropriations Committee spelled out its reasoning for the change in emphasis. "The Committee is concerned that the perennial goal of reducing Colombia’s cultivation, processing and distribution to restrict supplies enough to drive up prices and diminish purity has not worked and the drug economy continues to grow—further weakening the fabric of Colombian society," the report noted. "The Committee notes that this is now year eight of an ever more evolving multi-year plan. This program is not working and the Administration’s fiscal year 2008 request for Colombia is virtually identical to previous requests, which contradicts assurances that the Administration has provided to Congress over the years that the social component to Colombian aid would be significantly increased and that gradual 'Colombianization' of the program would take effect."

“This bill recognizes that it is time for change in our Colombia policy,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) in floor debate on Wednesday.

Such a change couldn’t come soon enough for advocates of a more enlightened policy toward Colombia and the drug war. “While there are no easy solutions, the bill passed by the House moves in the right direction,” said Joy Olson, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America.

"This is a very good bill," said the Center for International Policy. "It shows that a great deal of thought went into trying to get this policy right."

The Colombia foreign aid appropriation bill once again provides evidence that a congressional election can make all the difference in the world.

Latin America: Mexico Purges Federal Police Chiefs in Drug Corruption Review

The Mexican government announced Monday it has replaced the federal police chiefs in all 31 states and the Federal District to determine whether they are fighting drug trafficking or abetting it. The move comes as President Felipe Calderón is now six-months into an offensive against the powerful and violent so-called cartels that has seen more than 20,000 soldiers and police swarm into cities and states considered hotbeds of the drug trade.

The 32 purged chiefs must submit to and pass polygraph and drug tests before being reconsidered for their positions. Their financial status will also be scrutinized. If they pass muster, they must be retrained before being reassigned.

Drug prohibition-related corruption has been the bane of Mexican law enforcement for decades. Now, once again, a purge of police is viewed as necessary by high officials. Just last month, six federal police officers were arrested for protecting cocaine shipments at the Mexicali airport.

"Every federal cop is obliged to carry out his post with legality, honesty and efficiency," Public Safety Secretary Genaro García Luna said at a news conference Monday announcing the housecleaning. "In the fight against crime, we have strategies. One axis of our strategy is to professionalize and purge our police corps."

Nearly 7,000 of Mexico's 20,000 federal police, who investigate drug crimes and homicides, have been assigned to work alongside the more than 12,000 soldiers deployed in Calderón's war on drugs. That police are working side by side with soldiers has raised concerns that they could be undercutting Calderón's campaign by passing information on to the drug traffickers.

Afghanistan's opium battle will take years: govt

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
TurkishPress.com (MI)
URL: 
http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=182702

The Madness of Plan Colombia

Location: 
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
RealClearPolitics.com (IL)
URL: 
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/06/the_madness_of_plan_colombia.html

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