On January 11th, Brazilian president Fernando Cardoso signed the new anti-drug law, that will become the most advanced law of its kind in Latin America, because, among other things, it makes a clear distinction between a drug trafficker and an addict.
Read more at Brazil new law
At the same time, Bolivia, trapped between the “war on drugs” and the free market, has entered the new year convulsed by protest, repression and death. The Bolivian president-by-default Jorge Quiroga decided to make the purchase and sale of coca leaf in the vast Chapare region, the eastern slope of the Andes mountains, illegal. Farmers have protested against coca eradication, since coca leaf is part of indigenous tradition and furthermore, since the government does not offer a realistic and viable solution for cultivations alternative to coca. More than 60 farmers have been killed during the past months by the military and the police and congressman Evo Morales, a leader of the farmers, after being stripped of his Congressional immunity, has started a hunger strike.
Read more at Repression vs Coca Growers