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  1. Ecuador set to release minor drug offenders in move away from harsh laws

    05 August 2014
    Other news

    Around 2,000 inmates convicted of low-level drug offences could be released in Ecuador under a new criminal code, as countries across the Americas slowly move away from harsh punishments for minor drug crimes. In an interview with El Comerico, Ecuador's chief public defender, Ernesto Pazmiño, said that thousands of people convicted of drug possession, street sales or acting as "mules" (couriers) will have their cases reassessed after the country's new Integrated Penal Code comes into force.

  2. Ecuador is freeing thousands of drug mules

    06 October 2014
    Other news

    In Latin America’s latest challenge to Washington’s “war on drugs,” Ecuador has quietly begun releasing thousands of convicted cocaine smugglers. The move is a result of the country’s new criminal law, which took effect August 10. It treats “drug mules” who commit the low-profit, high-risk offense more as vulnerable people exploited by cartels than as hardened criminals. Around 500 mules have already been freed and at least another 2,000 are expected to follow, says Jorge Paladines, national coordinator of the Public Defender’s Office.

  3. US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'

    Hugh O'Shaughnessy
    16 January 2010
    Other news

    After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born – amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its own backyard.

  4. Ecuador to Debate Decriminalization

    24 October 2011
    Other news

    Proposed changes to Ecuador's penal code would decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use, including up to 10 grams of marijuana and hashish, four grams of opium, five grams of cocaine, and 100 milligrams of heroin. Ecuador's National Assembly is scheduled to begin debate on the reforms within 90 days. The proposed legislation distinguishes between types of drug trafficking offenses and defines penalties accordingly.

  5. Ecuadorian activists want nothing less than universal marijuana

    23 April 2015
    Other news

    Ecuador may be on the verge of a landmark shift in drug policy, as legislators debate the newly proposed Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention.