Eradication

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Bringing Home The Troops

As blowhards like Lou Dobbs call for escalation in the war on drugs, even the White House is singing a different tune. From The Washington Times:
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia -- President Bush's new budget calls for deep cuts in the leading U.S. program to fight drug trafficking in the Andean region, amid growing clashes over drug policy between Washington and leftist governments in Venezuela and Bolivia.


"It would be the largest across-the-board reduction in aid since the war on drugs began," said one U.S. diplomatic official, who asked not to be named.
It's refreshing to see ordinarily smug drug warriors decline to be named. That's to be expected when their opposition comes from the White House rather than the drug policy reform movement.

There's nothing to debate here. The Andean Counterdrug Initiative has failed utterly and everyone knows it. It has caused great devastation, but the one thing it has not done is reduce the availability of drugs in the U.S.

Meanwhile, The Miami Herald reports that Ecuador is evicting U.S. anti-drug forces from our only military stronghold in South America.
They are responsible for about 60 percent of drug interdiction in the eastern Pacific.

That matters little to newly inaugurated President Rafael Correa, whose rejection of a U.S. military presence in Ecuador reflects widespread resentment over Washington's foreign policy in a region where the Bush administration now has few reliable allies.

''We've said clearly that in 2009 the agreement will not be renewed because we believe that sovereignty consists of not having foreign soldiers on our home soil,'' Correa said.
This is the kind of humiliating defeat that makes drug war addicts like Joe Biden call for biological warfare in South America. It's a reminder that the drug war won’t end with a public apology, but rather a quiet-as-possible reallocation of funds.

When the war finally ends, it will be at the hands of Congress and the Executive branch. It won’t be at the hands of the "deep-pocketed pro-drug lobby," for there truly is no such thing. We're just a group of people who recognize, as even the White House sometimes does, that there are always better things to do with a billion dollars than trying to stop people from getting high.

Localização: 
United States

With Baldomero Caceres in Miraflores

I´ve spent the last few hours with Baldomeo Caceres, the Peruvian psychologist and coca expert, walking around central Lima and talking about the politics of coca. Now, we´ve traveled to Baldo´s house in the upscale Lima suburb of Miraflores, where we´re going to have a nice Peruvian lunch, then I´ll pull out my laptop and do a formal interview with him. One of the points that Baldo hammered away on while we walked and talked was his frustration with the slow pace of efforts to get coca removed from the list of banned plants in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics. Evo Morales is supposedly ready to formally request coca´s removal from the list, but according to Baldo, he isn´t getting support from some of the quarters he should be in the world of the non-governmental organizations. We´ll see what Baldo is willing to say about that on the record. He was also pessimistic about the prospects for change at the UN General Assembly special session on drugs in Vienna next year. Again, we´ll see what he says about that on the record. I have just been called to lunch, so I will keep this short. After this, I go to interview Peruvian defense and drug policy analyst Ricardo Soberon, formerly an advisor to Congresswoman Nancy Obregon. I will have photos soon. I had to buy a cable for the camera so I can transfer the photos. I´ll try to post some this evening.
Localização: 
Lima
Peru

The Drug War Chronicle Andean Coca Tour 2007 is about to get underway

Friday night, I will be bedding down in Peru, after a day-long flight from Sioux Falls to Denver to Houston to Lima. That will be the first of 21 nights in Peru and Bolivia as the Drug War Chronicle explores the coca industry and its unsavory relative, the cocaine industry, in the Andes. While the process of making connections is ongoing and always a little shaky in developing countries, things are falling into place. While I will spend most of that first weekend resting and getting oriented, it looks like I'll have lunch Monday with Peruvian psychologist and coca expert Baldomero Caceres and Anthony Henman. Henman is a legendary name when it comes to coca. The British anthropologist (since gone native) is the man who, under a pseudonym, wrote "Mama Coca" back in the 1970s. That was the first serious ethnographic study of coca's history and use in the Andes for lay readers in English. I look forward to seeing what Henman has to say about the current state of affairs. Later that day, I will go to the upscale suburb of Miraflores for dinner with Ricardo Soberon, a leading Peruvian drugs and security expert. He was an advisor to coca grower leader turned congresswoman Nancy Obregon, but has since departed over unspecified political differences. I'll be sure to query him (and Nancy) about the nature of those differences. Speaking of Nancy, she is currently back home in northern Peru, so I won't be able to talk to her during that first week. But she will be back in Lima at the end of the month, and I will do an interview with her then. (I have to be out of Bolivia by February 28 because their visa requirements kick in on March 1.) I think I will fly from Lima to Ayacucho next Wednesday. That ancient city high in the Andes is the historic heartland of Sendero Luminoso, the Maoist guerrillas who led an uprising in the 1980s where tens of thousands were killed. The Senderistas are still around, though much weakened, and they try to gain the support of coca growers by killing policemen and anti-government drug workers. But Ayacucho is also the home of national coca growers' union leader Nelson Palomino, whom I will interview. Palomino and his crew have also promised to show me the coca fields and let me talk to farmers, so that should be enlightening. After that, I'll take a couple of days for the mandatory tourist visit to Machu Picchu outside Cusco, then I'll bus it from Cusco across the altiplano to Bolivia. At least that's the plan right now; there are reports of severe flooding right where I'll be crossing the border. I'm still trying to set things up with the American embassy in Lima and with the big Peruvian drug bureaucracies, ENACO (the coca monopoly) and DEVIDA (the drug enforcement bureaucracy). I've been talking with the US press officer in Lima about getting a meeting, but because I don't represent established media, I can't get official press status with the embassy, which means the press officer won't officially deal with me, but may manage to hook me up with some of the drug people in the embassy. Similar plans are in the works for Bolivia. Stay tuned.
Localização: 
United States

GOP lawmakers press Bush on Afghanistan

Localização: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-drugwar7feb07,1,6836767.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Southwest Asia: British Conservatives Call for Afghan Opium to Be Licensed, Converted to Pharmaceuticals, Not Destroyed

As they prepare for pending elections, British Conservatives have joined the call for licensing of the Afghan opium crop. The move comes just days after the British Medical Association called for Afghan opium to be processed into heroin and prescribed to addicts.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/opium-smaller.jpg
the opium trader's wares (photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith during September 2005 visit to Afghanistan)
The US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan have an official policy of eradicating the country's poppy crop, but given the potential dangers of pushing opium farmers into the waiting arms of the Taliban, politicians and officials across Europe are increasingly seeking other options. A 2005 proposal by the European defense and drug policy think tank the Senlis Council to license the crop and divert into the legitimate medicinal market has proved to be a convenient starting off point for those seeking alternatives to eradication.

Conservative leader Lord Howell told parliament last week that the "very dangerous" policy of eradication was "just not working." He said alternatives like licensing the crop needed to be looked at. "The more we try to eradicate, the more poppies seem to get grown," he said. "Trying to stop poor farmers growing poppies to survive and live and feed their families is going to be almost impossible," he said.

Lord Howell's comments came just days after the British Medical Association argued that Afghan opium could be used to help deal with a shortage of prescription heroin, or diamorphine, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, told the BBC. "If we actually were harvesting this drug from Afghanistan rather than destroying it, we'd be benefiting the population of Afghanistan as well as helping patients and not putting people at risk," said Nathanson. "There must be ways of harvesting it and making sure that the harvest safely reaches the drug industry which would then refine it into diamorphine," she suggested. "It should be possible, and really Government and the international groups that are in Afghanistan should be looking at this and saying how can we convert it from being an illicit crop to a legal crop that is medicinally useful."

Op-Ed: Destroying poppies isn't path to Afghan stability

Localização: 
Philadelphia, PA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Philadelphia Inquirer
URL: 
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/16602379.htm

Poppies, and heroin trade, remain in bloom in Colombia

Localização: 
Villahermosa
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
CNN
URL: 
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/01/29/colombia.heroin.ap/

Afghan government won't spray poppies

Localização: 
Kabul
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
Canadian Press
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=1e00c9cb-4e8a-4cfc-b72f-9ae140579008&k=41498

'Use Afghan opium for NHS drugs'

Localização: 
United Kingdom
Publication/Source: 
The Daily Telegraph (UK)
URL: 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/23/nopium123.xml

Opium war revealed: Major new offensive in Afghanistan

Localização: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
The Independent (UK)
URL: 
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2171656.ece

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