On 17 December 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire in protest at a police beating after he resisted attempts to confiscate the cart that he used to sell vegetables and fruit. His desperate action prompted a wave of protests - first in Tunisia and then across the whole of the Middle East - as public anger at pervasive corruption, police brutality, unemployment, neoliberal economic policies, rising inequality and persistent human rights abuses exploded to the fore.
This section explores the underlying causes of the uprisings, debates the military intervention in Libya, examines the ongoing constraints on democratic movements, and looks to highlight the implications of changes in the Middle East for Western powers and their main ally, Israel who have supported autocratic dictatorships to facilitate ready access to oil, support the 'War on Terror' and act as a repressive buffer for migration into Europe.
The current law prohibits drug use and punishes possession for personal use with internment and forced treatment. Domestically, a legal market for coca leaf has always existed and Bolivia is trying to change the international legal regime for the coca leaf.
In Peru, coca leaf consumption has never been criminalized and a state-controlled licensing system exists for its cultivation and distribution. With regard to other drugs, in 1982, Decree 122 established that dependent users shall no longer be punished for possession of drugs for immediate personal consumption, but only when a medical certification is provided to prove the dependency.