Around América on February 20th

The Drug User Decriminalization Law passed the Brazilian Congress!

I informed y'all this would happen eight days ago.

More details, plus news from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and...

Miami Oligarchs on Parade Tomorrow!

Details follow below... Two thousand coca grower leaders have converged on Lima, the capital of Peru, according to AP and multiple Peruvian news agencies. Colombian coca grower leader Omayra Morales, various Peruvian members of Congress, and Peruvian coca grower leader Nancy Obregón were present for the Congress of coca growers. I'll translate the key parts of the story:

Some of the goals of the Congress are the liberation of their leader, Nelson Palomino, the end of massive eradication of coca crops, and the passage of a new law regarding coca…

Palomino, prisoner for the past year accused of apology for terrorism and inciting violence, communicated on Thursday by telephone with the organizers of the Congress and gave his backing, said Obregón.

Meanwhile, Coca goes on Exhibition in Ecuador: the daily La Hora reports that the Central Bank of Ecuador and City Hall in the capital of Quito "invites the citizenry to the inauguration of an exposition, 'The Use of Coca in Ancient Ecuador.'" More translation:

The exposition, with 250 ceramic and other pieces from various regions of Ecuador, began yesterday and runs through March 13th.

"The investigation confirmed that in all these (ancient) cultures, coca leaf was chewed to alleviate fatigue, hunger, and thirst, and that these leaves give sufficient energy to spend long days working and make long travels by foot."

(Stay tuned, kind readers, for news of an even larger exposition, cosponsored by Narco News, in another major Andean city this coming June.)

The Organization of American States (OAS) will conduct a study of herbicide spraying against coca plants in Colombia, according to this report.

The government of Colombian narco-president Alvaro Uribe will continue spraying the US-sponsored herbicides pending results of the study, which was initially planned in 2001, but OAS never quite got around to it.

Bolivian President Carlos Mesa promised to investigate complaints of U.S. Embassy maneuvers to associate coca growers with supposed terrorism, said Congressman Evo Morales to the Prensa Latina news agency. More translation...

The chief of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) said that the president offered to form a special commission to analyze the problem….

U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee, last week, said that it is possible that in the coca growing region of Chapare there is subversive activity that he termed as illegal conditions that could lead to terrorism.

(Narco News wonders aloud: Perhaps Greenlee speaks from authority, or at least familiarity, from his geographic proximity to terrorism at the US Embassy that was the true incubator of the State Terrorism of last October in Bolivia.)

Here's a fun one...

Oligarchs on Parade in Miami!

The Sun-Sentinel of Florida "reports" that…

Overcoming the cultural, racial and economic barriers that often keep immigrant groups in separate enclaves, a fledgling alliance of Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans and Peruvians will hit the streets of Miami on Saturday to protest what it calls the spread of despotic rule in the Americas.

The recently formed Coalition of the Americas hopes to rally thousands of pro-democracy marchers at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater to call for a more active U.S. role in restoring order to the region.

But "journalists" Tal Abbady and Sandra Hernandez of this newspaper sidestep what has already brought these "enclaves" together: Money! They're representatives of the disgraced oligarch classes of their countries, and when they say they want "a more active U.S. role in restoring order to the region," they mean: U.S. military intervention against democracy in Latin America.

They kind of let that cat out of the bag, here:

Gonzalo Salazar, a developer who lives in Weston and is a member of the coalition…  refuted those who say that the Venezuelan, Haitian and Peruvian leaders are legitimate. "Just because a government was democratically elected does not give it the right to trample the constitution, " he said.

Remember, kind readers: he's saying this in FLORIDA!

"The Cubans have welcomed us with open arms," added Samir Mourra, an organizer who heads the group Patri, which is Creole for "country," according to the report.

Beltway activist Adam Isacson apparently let himself be used by this newspaper (hint: don't give interviews to pro-oligarchy rags in Florida, kind readers!):

Analysts also say there is good reason for the broad coalition's concerns.

"Polls across the region show enormous disenchantment," said Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy, a research group in Washington, D.C. "This level of instability is as high as it has been in the region."

Did Isacson really mean to say that there is "good reason" for the concerns of these oligarchs? Or did the simulators simply distort the intent of his remarks?

I bet he feels a bit dirty this morning.

So, if professional simulators like Tal Abbady or Sandra Hernandez call you for quotes, kind "experts," give 'em the Forero treatment: don't return the call, or you'll get your words distorted there, and then - because Narco News is back - you'll get corrected here, and the question will be repeatedly asked of those who regularly fall into this trap: Are you so desperate to get your name in the paper that you'll give quotes to serial distorters?

And now, this bears repeating...

The Drug User Decriminalization Law passed the Brazilian Congress. Yay! BigLeftOutside readers knew would happen eight days ago.

And now, for a related spanking...

The beautiful losers and beltway bureaucrats at DRCNet this week poo-poohed this triumph in Brazil as "not going far enough" (as if they've ever gotten a fraction that far on a single piece of legislation on their turf, in Washington!).

Instead, they devoted twelve paragraphs of their inaccurate and inadequately sourced newsletter to alleged divisions among drug policy reform advocates in Brazil and Argentina. Their story is untrue, and borderline libelous against certain leaders, so it certainly deserves no link: But for anyone who got that spam in your mailbox, it accused an heroic drug policy reform leader in Brazil of "corruption and nepotism" without providing a single detail of either charge, or adequate chance for the accused to speak in his own defense.

We're not going to drag anybody's name through the mud based on the "report" of a dubious activist newsletter that serially gets its Latin American coverage wrong (no wonder: they're not fluent in the languages, and certainly not in the cultures). But if you see such defamatory accusations floating around the Internet, you can safely disregard them as lunatic ravings based on hidden agendas, jealousies, and resentments.

What irks me the most is that if a fair critique is leveled at a gringo group like DRCNet or its newsletter, they start crying about "can't we all get along?" and how there should be no open discussion of strategy, tactics, or truth in the North American "movement." But they feel completely licensed to accuse heroic Latin American leaders - in this case, the very person who got the decriminalization law passed in Brazil, who led us all to victory - of potential criminal activity ("corruption and nepotism"?) without offering a shred of evidence or detail as to what said corruption or nepotism supposedly involved.

They're happy to drag Latin American heroes through the mud, but they whine like babies, as they will again today, if you or I criticize them for inauthentic, and untrue, reporting. If their hidden-agenda gambit to smear certain heroes succeeds in damaging good names, I'll offer a more ballistic critique - and some corruption accusations, with hard evidence, regarding financial dealings by the accusers - here. But, for now, because good people's reputations are at stake, and I don't want to stoke the flames on a false and harmful set of untrue accusations, I'll leave it at that. A word to the wise and the foolish alike ought to be sufficient.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.