[R-G] Venezuela Decriminalizes Drug Possession
mstainsby at resist.ca
Sat Jan 17 01:31:57 MST 2004
"Alberto M. Giordano" <narconews at hotmail.com> wrote in message
January 15, 2003
Please Distribute Widely
The new participatory journalism model of Narco News is soon to emerge from
the lab. Meanwhile, here's some breaking news from our beat, that I've
posted as an entry on my weblog:
Venezuela Decriminalizes Drug Possession
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 Chavez.
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
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:
"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).
This is truly revolutionary. How and why did it happen? This giant step for
drug policy reform and human freedom in this hemisphere happened because
Venezuelan democracy was defended and US-backed coups were defeated. This
historic development is a discrediting knockout blow to all the hysterical
accusers who claimed that the government of Hugo Chavez would somehow become
"authoritarian" simply because he and the Venezuelan majority don't agree
that "the market" should govern their land.
The vestiges of McCarthyism or "Fear of a Red Planet" appeared in recent
years even from some quarters that claim they want to liberalize drug laws.
Our own newspaper, Narco News, took heat and sustained hard hits over the
past two years in particular for our strong defense of Venezuelan democracy.
"But that has nothing to do with drug policy," the fearful voices accused.
Today, you can see the whole truth, kind reader. Fear no more. In January
2004, Venezuela decriminalized the drug user and the small doses he
possesses. And if the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela sustains the
inevitable backlash from Washington that will now come for daring to
exercize its democratic will to increase human freedom, you will soon see
other Latin American nations follow suit. Ecuador had already done it
quietly (reported only by Narco News -
http://www.narconews.com/Issue29/article703.html ), but Venezuela's action,
because of the size and influence of the country and its economy, and the
context of its role in the current American drama, now provides cover for
Brazil, Argentina, and the rest of the continent to do the same.
To those of you who wisely understood this connection between defending
democracy in Latin America and reforming the insane war on drugs, and who
raised your voices across the world to prevent the coups d'etat, this is
your victory, too. Congratulations, remain vigilant, apply for your
copublisher account to amplify your voice across the continents, and
Apply for your co-publisher's account, here:
In the contradiction lies the hope
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