The controversial General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organisation has generated major social concern about the implications for the equitable provision of basic public services.
Recently disclosed US State Department and CIA records cast a new light on the Letelier assassination, revealing that the US had extensive awareness of a secret assassination operation and suggesting that US officials called off actions that might have stopped it.
El polémico Acuerdo General sobre el Comercio de Servicios (AGCS, GATS) de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) ha generado una gran preocupación social por el suministro equitativo de servicios públicos básicos.
In the area of failed alternative development (AD) projects, the Andean region has its sorry share to contribute. The constant peasant uprisings n the Bolivian Chapare and the social tensions rife among cocalero peasants in the South of Colombia are woeful indicators of such failure. In January, TNI attended a conference in Germany, hosted by the German government and UNDCP. The purpose was to critically evaluate experiences in AD and draw conclusions for its future.
In 1961, the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs prohibited planting crops having no medical or scientific purpose, fixing a period of 15 years - for opium - and 25 years - for coca - as deadlines for their ultimate extinction. Those targets were clearly not met. In 1998, ignoring decades of lack of success in addressing the issue of illicit crops, the UN set the year 2008 as yet another deadline by which to eliminate coca and opium. At the UN Special Session on drugs, AD was identified as a key instrument to be used in fulfilling this objective, as part of an integral anti-drugs strategy. The strategy's other components were eradication and law enforcement. Experience has demonstrated that the simultaneous use of these means - commonly known as the 'carrot and stick approach'- is counterproductive.
This issue of Drugs & Conflict is dedicated to this central theme in international drug control policies. Supply reduction, one of AD's objectives, has proven a failure in the Andean region. To what was this failure due? What may be expected of AD programmes in the future, given the accumulated experiences?
In reference to eradication pacts and AD projects undertaken in the Putumayo (Colombia), Ricardo Vargas points out that there is no fair compensation between what is expected of peasants: destroying the main source of their livelihood, and what the state offers them in exchange: non-viable projects doomed to fail and the impending threat of fumigation should deadlines not be met. International anti-drugs policy forces the Colombian government to measure its results by the number of hectares eradicated, without regard for the region's specific development conditions.
State institutions in Colombia have no capacity to operate effectively in the Putumayo. Locked into a crisis combining US pressure to intensify aerial spraying, a collapsed peace process and guerrilla action against the economic and services infrastructure, the central government is not in a position to guarantee the adequate running of AD programmes. To add fuel to fire, there is now the argument that finance for terrorism must be combated. This further erodes the social and economic rights of the peasants and down-plays the impact of aerial spraying on health and the environment.
In spite of widespread recognition of the failure of current 'carrot and stick' policies (a mixture of AD and repression), a 'zero option' mentality persists and deceit about success still abounds. The final declaration issued at the German policy conference is not radical in this sense. It does, however, offer some leaps forward in terms of fine tuning the AD concept, based on a better understanding of livelihood decision making processes, the importance of regular evaluations and, the acceptance of the reality that the communities most affected have not been allowed to participate sufficiently in their own development process. The declaration also manages to define somewhat more precisely the troublesome balance between AD and repressive law enforcement. It is worth noting that the UNDCP participated actively in the conference, displaying real willingness to seriously exchange opinions on these issues. This yields a modicum of optimism regarding the possibility that international bodies can learn to identify best practices and see the need to separate these from the current repressive policies, increasingly recognised as more harmful than drugs themselves.
En materia de proyectos de desarrollo alternativo fracasados la región andina tiene, desafortunadamente, basante experiencia. Los continuos alzamientos campesinos del Chapare boliviano y las tensiones sociales entre los cultivadores cocaleros en el sur de Colombia son expresiones manifiestas de este fracaso. En materia de proyectos de Desarrollo Alternativo (DA) fracasados, la región andina tiene –desafortunadamente– bastante experiencia.Los continuos alzamientos campesinos del Chapare boliviano, y las tensiones sociales entre los cultivadores cocaleros en el Sur de Colombia son expresiones manifiestas de este fracaso.
En la última década ha crecido la polarización entre dos tendencias divergentes en la política global de drogas. Por un lado, el escalamiento de la Guerra a las drogas de EEUU, que ha creado un gulag de drogas doméstico y ha intensificado y militarizado erradicaciones forzadas en otros países. Por otra parte, en Europa y otros países gana terreno un enfoque más flexible y pragmático para las políticas de drogas domésticas, que se distancia de la represión indiscriminada y la tolerancia cero. En estos países, la tendencia hacia una mayor indulgencia es irreversible, y una actitud racional reemplaza gradualmente los dogmas del pasado. Estos enfoques han alcanzado sus límites legales en el marco de las convenciones sobre drogas de la ONU.
Allow countries and regions more space for policy reform using and stretching the margins of the conventions. Strengthen alliances of like-minded nations to support one another and effectively coordinate efforts at the UN level through informal consultations and strategy meetings. Any crack in the global prohibition regime would not plunge the world into chaos immediately. We should not press for a new global straitjacket but for a model that respects cultural differences. We have to open up the debate about the wisdom of the conventions as they stand.
A strong attack against the European practice of 'leniency' regarding cannabis use and possession took place at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) session (11-15 March, 2002) in Vienna. There was an orchestrated attempt to pass a CND resolution to put a dam against the 'leniency'.
En período de sesiones de la Comisión de Estupefacientes de la ONU que tuvo lugar en Viena (11-15 de marzo de 2002) se produjo un fuerte ataque contra las tendencias europeas hacia la 'tolerancia' respecto al uso y la posesión de cannabis. Se vivió también un intento orquestado por aprobar una resolución que pusiera freno a dicha tendencia.
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs, Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
01 Marzo 2002
Drug laws in the European Union (EU) seek continuously to strike a balance between punishment and treatment. The three United Nations (UN) conventions on drugs, limit drug use exclusively to medical or scientific purposes. While they do not call for illicit use of drugs to be considered a crime, the 1988 Convention — as a step towards tackling international drug trafficking — does identify possession for personal use to be regarded as such.
La legislación en la Unión Europea (UE) en materia de drogas pretende encontrar un equilibrio entre la sanción y el tratamiento. Los tres convenios y convenciones de las Naciones Unidas sobre estupefacientes limitan exclusivamente el consumo de drogas a un interés médico o científico. Si bien no consideran delito el consumo ilícito de drogas, la Convención de 1988, como paso adelante para hacer frente al tráfico internacional de drogas, señala que la posesión de drogas para consumo personal debería considerarse un delito.
In a confidential and authoritative memorandum to the INCB, UNODC legal experts argue that most harm reduction measures are in fact acceptable under the conventions. According to the Legal Affairs Section "it could easily be argued that the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction provide a clear mandate for the institution of harm reduction policies that, respecting cultural and gender differences, provide for a more supportive environment for drug users."