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Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by BA, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. BA

    BA Palladium Member

    Reputation Points:
    Aug 15, 2003
    from U.S.A.
    January 15, 2004

    Today's neo-libertarians, if they truly believe what they claim to believe about freedom, really need to take a second look at Venezuela and it's president Hugo Chávez.

    The democratically-elected government of Venezuela has survived attempted coups - military, economic, and mediatic - and keeps moving forward with the most sweeping reforms and advances in democracy and human rights in the hemisphere today.

    The latest: a reform of the penal code that, while increasing penalties for drug traffickers like every other country, has just decriminalized possession. According to the oligarch's daily El Universal, which leads its report in a panic over the reform's simultaneous legalization of abortion and euthanasia, here's what the new law does for drug users:
    <BLOCKQUOTE>"As personal dose for consumption, the (allowable) quantity of the drug substance is extended to that which is necessary for average individual consumption for no more than five days; and as a provisional dose, the quantity of the substance that is employed for average individual consumption (according to forensics experts) for no more than ten days."
    In sum, the drug addict or user no longer faces prison or penalty in Venezuela if he possesses small amounts of his drug of choice (specifically mentioned by the law are marijuana, hashish, cocaine and its derivatives, opium and its derivatives, and synthetic drugs).
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Reputation Points:
    Hugo Chávez for world president?
  3. Woodman

    Woodman A very strange person. Platinum Member & Advisor

    Reputation Points:
    Nov 3, 2003
    115 y/o from U.S.A.
    In both Central & South America, AMERICANS = TARGETS!

    If you carry an American passport that makes you subject to kidnapping for ransom by beaner organized crime outfits, and/or guerilla factions looking for $$$.

    I also wouldn't be too quick to get high in a hotel room where the taxi cab driver who directed you to the drug dealer gets paid a second time by corrupt cops for busting you using in that same hotel room.

    Look around. Use your head, & stay safe.

    For all of the bad shit said about the Neds, I'ld still prefer to spend more to fly there than risk Beaner Polotics in the Banana Republics.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Reputation Points:

    The embattled government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is moving
    to decriminalize drug possession. But contrary to some reports
    circulating on drug reform email lists, decriminalization in Venezuela
    is by no means a done deal. The opposition newspaper El Universal
    (Caracas) reported Tuesday that as part of its sweeping reform of the
    country's penal code, the Chavez government will include the
    decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of drugs for
    personal use. The proposed reform would also address penalties for
    drug trafficking and manufacture, creating a system of sentences based
    on weight rather than the current system, which subjects all
    trafficking and manufacturing crimes to the same harsh set of sentences.

    Under the proposed new Article 383 of the penal code, "A personal dose
    would be understood to be the quantity of the drug that does not
    exceed the average five-day personal consumption; and a maintenance
    (or supply) dose would be the quantity of the drug used by the average
    person (as determined by experts) for no more than 10 days."

    Under the article, people caught with "personal dose" or "maintenance
    dose" amounts of illegal drugs will face no criminal sanction. The
    benchmarks for those doses have not yet been set. Benchmarks for new,
    graduated penalties for trafficking and manufacturing offenses have
    been set:

    . 4-6 years if the quantity is greater than the "personal dose" or
    "maintenance dose" but less than the amounts listed immediately below.

    . 6-10 years if the quantity is more than 1000 grams of marijuana; 200
    grams of hashish or synthetic drugs, or 20 grams of cocaine, cocaine
    base, or opiates.

    . 8-12 years if the quantity is more than above but less than 10,000
    grams of marijuana, 4,000 grams of synthetic drugs, 3,000 grams of
    hashish, 2,000 grams of cocaine or cocaine base, or 70 grams of opiates.

    . 10-20 years for offenses exceeding the quantities listed immediately
    above. In all of the above cases, prison sentences can also be coupled
    with fines. The amounts of those fines are unclear at this time.
    Typically in Latin America, fines are computed by multiples of the
    daily minimum wage. The proposed Venezeulan reform speaks of fines in
    "tributary units." DRCNet is not yet sure exactly what those are.

    Venezuelan penologist Jose Luis Tamayo told El Universal the changes
    in drug trafficking penalties were needed to ensure justice in
    sentencing. The reform "would correct a certain current injustice,
    since today those who traffic drugs in large quantities (for example,
    a ton of cocaine) are punished with the same sentence as those who
    traffic in small quantities (for example, 10 grams of cocaine)," he
    said. "In this manner, the greater or lesser the quantity of the drug
    detected in each case would be punished in a proportional manner."

    Whether the proposed decriminalization becomes the law of the land
    depends on whether it is approved by the judicial and legislative
    branches, Venezuelan embassy spokeswoman Arelis Paiva told DRCNet
    Thursday. "Under Venezuelan law, the reform has to be approved by the
    Supreme Judicial Tribunal and then by the National Assembly," she
    said. That process "could take months," she added.

    The passage of decriminalization also depends on the survival of the
    Chavez government. The democratically-elected president faces a
    possible referendum over his rule this summer. The referendum to
    remove Chavez -- signatures are still being counted in a highly
    contentious process -- is the latest effort by Venezuela's elites and
    upper classes to remove the populist, nationalist leader. Those
    elites, aided and abetted by the US government, attempted
    unsuccessfully to overthrow Chavez with a coup in 2002 and have
    remained unalterably opposed to his rule ever since. (Chavez himself
    attempted a coup in 1992 and was imprisoned, but he used that
    imprisonment to launch his career as a democratic politician.)

    The move toward decriminalization of drug possession will likely
    provide even more ammunition for the Chavez demonization campaign
    emanating from the White House, the State Department, and more shadowy
    agencies. Chavez is already well-hated by the conservative ideologues,
    such as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
    Roger Noriega, a former aide to Sen. Jesse Helms, and Bush's special
    envoy to the region Otto Reich, who cut his teeth helping craft the
    Reagan administration's wars in Central America in the 1980s.

    Both men have recently increased their drumbeat of criticism of
    Chavez, particularly in the run-up to this week's Summit of the
    Americas in Mexico. Among other things, they accuse Chavez of
    providing assistance to the revolt in Bolivia that overthrew US ally
    President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in October -- but they did so
    gutlessly, retreating to the anonymity of "officials who declined to
    be named" in an Associated Press story last week.

    The attacks on Venezuela from Washington drew a predictable response
    from Caracas. President Chavez bluntly told the US to butt out of
    Venezuelan internal affairs, and Foreign Minister Carlos Rangel
    angrily denied the charges. "If they have any evidence... they should
    put it on the table so we can discuss it," Rangel told reporters in
    Caracas on January 6. "What proof do they have of these statements?"

    Like Rangel, we are still waiting for a response.