Ibero-American News Digest
Four Nations of the Americas Join Forces To Fight Drugs
Jan. 18 (EIRNS)Announcing an agreement to coordinate among their four countries, the Presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama called on the other nations of the Americas to join them in a frontal assault upon the drug trade and organized crime which threaten the very existence of government and society in the region. The call came at the conclusion of the Presidential Summit Against Organized Crime, hosted on Jan. 16, by Panamanian President Martín Torrijos.
The summit signals that forces in the region are beginning to rally against this existential threat, joining the government of Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe in taking on Britain's Opium War against the Americas.
Before Presidents Uribe, Felipe Calderón (Mexico), Alvaro Colom (Guatemala), and Torrijos held their meeting, top law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial officials from the four countries met, forming working groups which are to continue to function. Calderón reported that the Presidents had accepted Uribe's suggestion that a multilateral agreement be drafted, setting forth protocols of cooperation in the fight against drugs, minimal obligations, and detailed understandings between the judicial and cabinet authorities of these four countries. Once signed, other countries in the region will be invited to sign on also.
Work began on establishing regional data banks and intelligence exchanges, mutual assistance in training of police forces, and coordination of policies against drug-money laundering, arms trafficking, precursor chemicals, and related immigrant trafficking.
Only the State can protect our citizens from the global menace of the drug trade and organized crime, with its "intensive and deliberately cruel use of terror, intimidation, corruption, and violence," the final communique issued by the Presidents recognizes.
Harvard Economist: Drug Legalization Good for Ibero-America
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)Peruvian economist Norman Loayza, who earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, seems determined to prove the truthfulness of the LaRouche movement's assertion that "before there was Hitler, there was Harvard."
In his article entitled "Preventing Violence," published in the Winter 2008 edition of ReVista, Harvard Review of Latin America, a publication of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Loayza argues that the only ways to prevent violence in South America are to 1) legalize the drug trade, 2) impose population control, and 3) reduce the role of the State to its minimal expression, so as not to bother people with "excessive" regulation.
Who needs the nation-state anyway?
Loayza, now working at the World Bank's research department, has his feet planted firmly in George Soros's camp. He's been a speaker at conferences organized by the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute, whose founder, former Brazilian President F.H. Cardoso, is also a founding member of the Soros-backed Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy (LACDD), which is promoting drug legalization throughout South America.
Loayza argues that the War on Drugs has failed, especially in the U.S., so don't expect it to succeed in poorer countries. Therefore, it's time to "give a chance to the legalization of drug trafficking and consumption." Of course, he adds, this doesn't mean unrestricted trade. Echoing Soros's "harm reduction" mantra, Loayza insists that legalization of drugs would have to be accompanied by, "first, regulation of their production and trade, and, second, public health campaigns to limit their consumption."
Then, eventually, legalization would hopefully "change the main players in the drug market." The "bloody drug lords and their armies of thugs," would disappear, this economist says, and be replaced by "MBAs in well-groomed suits and chemists in impeccable white uniforms."
Colombian President Demands War on Drug Legalization
Jan. 18 (EIRNS)Legalization of drug consumption is a license to legalize all aspects of the drug trade, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe charged, in his closing remarks to the Jan. 16 Presidential Summit Against Organized Crime, held in Panama.
Like the little boy pointing out the Emperor's nakedness, the Colombian President continues to state what every one knows, but most are too cowardly to state: The global campaign to legalize drug consumption is nothing but a front for the drug cartels.
The Colombian President concentrated his fire on this one point: "Why," he said, "if every day we have to fight drug crops, trafficking, laundering of assets, chemical precursors, and extradite, confiscate, eradicate, fumigatewhy are we permissive with consumption?"
Uribe announced that in March, his government will again go to the National Congress, and demand it pass a Constitutional reform reversing the legalization of "personal doses," in order to remove this obstacle to the battle against organized crime.
Two days later, addressing a conference in Bogota of more than 1,000 youth from around the country, ages 12 to 18, Uribe urged them to take up the fight against drugs. "I am going to ask all of Colombia's youth to join us this year," in urging the Congress of the Republic to push through the proposed Constitutional reform re-imposing sanctions for possessing a "personal" drug dose, he stated.
The current legalization involves children and youth in the violence of the drug trade, Uribe charged, because the legalized personal dose is used as a cover to use children as drug distributors, who claim, if caught, that the drugs are just for their personal use.
Soros-Financed Media Promote Drug Legalization in Paraguay
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)The "independent" pro-drug media that George Soros's Open Society Institute and the Tides Foundation have generously financed in recent yearsIndymedia is one such outletare proclaiming that the campaign to "force" the President of Paraguay to legalize marijuana production "is starting to bear fruit."
The "fruit" described in a Jan. 14 Indymedia article is the fact that Elvis Balbuena, a legislator from President Fernando Lugo's own Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA), has taken up the cause of legalization, and reports that a panel of "experts" is now studying a legalization proposal. Moreover, the same article reports, that radio personality Raúl Melamed is leading a campaign, proclaiming that legalization must become "our great national cause, a sign of our sovereignty."
Paraguay produces 5,900 tons of marijuana annually, which accounts for more than half of the 10,000 tons produced in all of South America. Paraguay's production is exceeded only by that of Mexico, with 7,000 tons. In this impoverished nation, the drug cartels have forced peasants to cultivate marijuana, and have more or less free rein in many remote parts of the country where the state has little or no presence.
But the Soros crowd's problem is that President Lugo visited Colombia last September, and signed several agreements with President Alvaro Uribe on cooperation in combatting the drug trade. After that meeting, Indymedia and its allies began shrieking that Lugo intends to "Colombianize" Paraguay, and is a CIA lackey. The phraseology that Lugo has to be "forced" to legalize marijuana, implies that he isn't going to be a pushover on this issue. He stated in a Jan. 23 interview with the daily ABC that he doesn't see much future "in legalized marijuana in Paraguay."
Collapsed U.S. Economy Wreaks Havoc in Northern Mexico
Jan. 21 (EIRNS)The collapse of the U.S. economy, and its ability to serve as the "importer of last resort" for Mexico, is dramatically affecting the situation in that nation's northern states, in particular. Here, the in-bound assembly plants known as maquiladoras, which produce electronic and auto components for the U.S. market, have been forced to cut back production, shorten the work week, and reduce wages by as much as 50%, in a desperate attempt to prevent permanent layoffs.
The drop in demand, resulting in plummeting sales, is driving this process, provoking an acute social crisis as well, as families lose their source of income, or see it dramatically reduced. According to the Canacintra business federation, there are now short-term maquiladora closures spanning five northern statesSonora, Baja California, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipasnot coincidentally, states in which some of the worst drug cartel violence has occurred. Workers may be employed for only three days a week, in some cases.
The National Council of the Maquiladora and Manufacturing Export Industries reports that over 200,000 jobs were lost in 2008, hitting Baja California Norte, Sonora, and Chihuahua particularly hard. Analysts expect another 5% drop in employment100,000 jobs lostfor the first quarter of 2009. In Mexico City, the General Electric, Hertz, and Pfizer companies just announced layoffs totalling 17,000.
The Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Confederation (CROC) puts the 2008 job loss in the manufacturing sector at 300,000, expecting job loss to accelerate in the first quarter of 2009.