Tuesday, May 14, 2019

AMLO floats drug decriminalization (May 14, 2019)

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced a new campaign aimed at combating youth consumption of illicit drugs. (Notimex) Newly released statistics show that drug use has doubled in Mexico over the past 15 years, reports La Jornada.

The announcement comes as the administration is planning to decriminalize illegal drugs in Mexico as part of a new strategy against narcotics. Such drugs would not become legalized, but authorities would implement enforced medical treatments in place of drug arrests, reports Forbes.

The plan was outlined in AMLO's recently released National Development Plan for 2019-2024, reports CNBC.

It's not clear which drugs would be included -- Interior Minister Olga Sánchez had previously proposed legalizing cannabis. (El Universal)

News Briefs

  • The April 30 plan to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro -- dubbed Operación Libertad -- failed in part because Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno backed out at the last minute, reports the Washington Post in a reconstruction of the failed plot. He was supposed to provide a legal ruling that would have acknowledged opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president and called new elections. When he backed out of the plan, key supporters were likely scared off, say Operación Libertad insiders. The WP's sources believe Moreno's own ambitions may have been the stumbling block.
  • Operación Libertad's failure has strengthened diplomatic initiatives pushing for a negotiated settlement to Venezuela's crisis, one that likely includes President Nicolás Maduro or a designated chavista, according to Fulton Armstrong at the AULA Blog. As the crisis stretches out, and sanctions worsen humanitarian suffering, the pragmatist vision increasingly leans towards negotiations, he argues.
  • In the meantime, the opposition seems to be leaning more towards a military solution: Guaidó's U.S. representative requested a formal meeting with the U.S. military for "strategic and operational planning," reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Colombian President Iván Duque said he would not allow the country's border with Venezuela to become a haven for the ELN guerrillas, after local media reports that Venezuela's military has been ordered to treat the rebel group as allies. (Reuters)
  • The U.S. revoked tourist visas for three top Colombian judges -- Semana reports that its retaliation for their opposition to extradition. The U.S. embassy in Colombia also withdrew funding from four projects aimed at modernizing the Constitutional Court.
  • The friction comes as Colombia's government hopes to avoid a U.S. decertification as a war on drugs ally, reports La Silla Vacía. The Constitutional Court is currently debating a request from the Duque administration to permit aerial spraying of glyphosate as part of its coca eradication policy. (El Espectador)
  • Historically, domestic and sexual violence in Colombia spikes around and on Mother’s Day, as does the murder rate, reports Reuters.
El Salvador
  • El Salvador has the world's highest femicide rates -- so far this year an average of one woman has been killed each day because of her gender. The head of a special prosecution unit set up to tackle gender violence said gang involvement in these crimes hinders convictions. (Reuters)
  • Brazilian indigenous chief Raoni is on a three week mission to Europe. He will meet with heads of state, and Pope Francis, and hopes to raise awareness of threats to the Amazon. He will also seek to raise $1.1 million to better protect the Amazon's Xingu reserve, reports AFP.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of a government-backed climate forum, after the group organized a state-level climate change council that would act independently from the federal government. (Reuters)
  • Bolsonaro said he will nominate his Justice Minister Sergio Moro to the Supreme Court if there is an opening. (Associated Press)
  • Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel's "expansion of aggressive policing has resulted in a surge of military-style raids into predominantly Afro-Brazilian neighborhoods," denounces WOLA. "This epidemic of shootout deaths—a phenomenon that has long contributed to high rates of extrajudicial executions in Brazil—is a retrogressive, unlawful approach to security that reinforces institutional racism in the police and is unlikely to break Rio’s cycle of violence in the long term."
  • Climate change caused droughts are pushing people to migrate from rural Guatemala, reports Al Jazeera.
  • Ecuadorean prosecutors will send Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's personal belongings left in Ecuador's London embassy, including computers, mobile phones, memory sticks and other electronic devices, to the U.S. to cooperate with an investigation there. (AFP
  • Newly declassified U.S. telegrams and confidential communications about Argentina's dictatorship may spur new prosecutions, writes Rut Diamint in the Conversation.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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