Cocaine entering the USA via Venezuela
As result of graft and Venezuelian anti-Americanism, Venezuela has become an increasingly important route for Colombian-grown cocaine to reach the USA. For more, see here.
Venezuela's Hugo Chávez attacks alcohol and tobacco
Venezuela's leftist and anti-USA president Hugo Chávez is attempting to persuade his people to adopt the puritanical and anti-capitalist psyche of a socialist revolutionary "New Man." He has greatly increased taxes on alcoholic drinks and on tobacco and has warned that beer trucks that sell on the streets will be confiscated. The government will no longer make dollars available to import luxury whiskies, a step that will greatly increase prices. Chávez says that he himself doesn't drink and only very occasionally smokes a cigarette and then only in private. Chávez's reforms goes beyond alcohol and tobacco. He has called upon Venezuelians to avoid dousing food with hot sauce, to choose low-cholesterol foods, to obey speed limits, to stop buying Barbie dolls, and to reject breast enhancement surgeries. For more, see the AP story here.
Chávez bans Holy Week alcohol sales
Hugo Chávez, the radical (and teetotal) president of Venezuela, has banned alcohol sales during Holy Week (actually, beginning the Friday before Good Friday). As this is a holiday period, which Venezuelians often devote to drinking, this presidential decree has created more outrage than over many other obviously controversial policies. The ban is not absolute except against beer sales by street vendors who serve drivers on roadways and for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, with restricted hours for the rest of Holy Week. Supposedly the ban is intended to reduce traffic accidents. For more, see here.
Venezuela’s Chavez banning beer trucks from sales on the street
Venezuela’s president has a new public enemy: beer trucks. President Hugo Chavez said yesterday he is fed up with seeing beer trucks sell alcohol directly on the streets of poor neighborhoods.
“It’s the degeneration of society. It’s one of the causes of public drunkenness in the slums,” he said as he declared he was putting a ban on the beer runs. The Boston Herald reports.
Venezuela's organic chocolate revolution
In a story entitled "Venezuela's Chocolate Revolution," the BBC reports the revival of the cocoa industry by organic farmers in a country recently known more for its oil and leftist politics. Organic farmers get almost four times as much for their cocoa than do conventional farmers who grow non-organic cocoa. Chocolate makers in Europe and the USA buy organic cocoa for prestigious, high-priced "single bean" chocolate analogous to single malt whiskies. To add to their profits, Venezuelan organic farmers have begun making their own chocolate from their beans.
For more, see here.
Evo Morales opens coca factory
This story, unsigned and from Reuters, is on the wire right now.
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales visited a coca-growing region on Saturday to open a Venezuelan-funded factory where coca leaves will be made into legal products such as tea and soft drinks.
Morales rose in politics as the leader of Bolivia's coca farmers and part of his anti-drug policy is to encourage licit uses for coca -- the plant used to make cocaine, which is also revered by Andean peoples for its medicinal properties.
Full story here.
Coca as Symbol and Labor Enhancer in the Andes (article)
Vicki Cassman, Larry Cartmell, Eliana Belmonte, “Coca as Symbol and Labor Enhancer in the Andes: A Historical Overview.” Drugs, labor, and colonial expansion. Ed. William Jankowiak and Daniel Bradburd. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003, pp. 149 - 158.
Latin America's "wrong left" and drug trafficking
Jorge G. Castañeda, in the May/June 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, counsels Washington and the international community on what they should do about "Latin America's left turn." Castañeda characterizes his "wrong left" with many "moral" problems, including the tolerance of drug trafficking.
The international community should also clarify what it expects from the "wrong left," given that it exists and that attempts to displace it would be not only morally unacceptable but also pragmatically ineffective. The first point to emphasize is that Latin American governments of any persuasion must abide by their countries' commitments regarding human rights and democracy. The region has built up an incipient scaffolding on these matters over recent years, and any backsliding, for whatever reason or purpose, should be met by a rebuke from the international community. The second point to stress is that all governments must continue to comply with the multilateral effort to build a new international legal order, one that addresses, among other things, the environment, indigenous people's rights, international criminal jurisdiction (despite Washington's continued rejection of the International Criminal Court and its pressure on several Latin American governments to do the same), nuclear nonproliferation, World Trade Organization rules and norms, regional agreements, and the fight against corruption, drug trafficking, and terrorism, consensually defined. Europe and the United States have enormous leverage in many of these countries. They should use it.
Full text here.
Posted by Jon on May 2, 2006 at 12:44 PM in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cannabis, Chile, Coca Leaf, Cocaine, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Drugs (general), Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela | Permalink
Cocaine smuggler dies at airport
A young man has died at a Venzeuala airport en route for Europe after cocaine sachets ruptured in his stomach and intestines, authorities say.
The Advertiser reports.
Drug seizure at Montréal airport
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that its officers at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport seized 41.5 kilos of cocaine. The estimated street value of the 38 bricks of cocaine is $5 million. On January 30, 2006, CBSA officers found the cocaine while conducting an aircraft check on a plane that had arrived from Porlamar, Venezuela.
The drugs were concealed in metallic containers normally used for transporting food on board aircraft. The file has been transferred to the RCMP's Airport Federal Investigation Section for further investigation. In 2005, CBSA officers at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport made 183 drug seizures and kept more than $38 million worth of drugs off Canadian streets.
Find the news release here.