Peru’s Carmen Masías Outlines Agency’s Efforts to Combat Drug Scourge

first_img WASHINGTON — The Humala government vows to step up coca eradication efforts and adapt new strategies to help Peru’s estimated 100,000 drug addicts kick the habit — even as it battles severe budget constraints and continuing violence by Shining Path terrorists. So says Carmen Masías, director of Peru’s National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida Sin Drogas). “President Ollanta Humala, in his inauguration speech, was abundantly clear when he said that Peru would continue its struggle against drugs and associated violence. At this moment, we are completing the mandates of the president and his ministries,” Masías told several dozen experts during a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Masías, a psychologist and family therapist, took over as Peru’s drug czar in January following the resignation of her predecessor, Ricardo Soberón Garrido. Her May 11 presentation at CSIS came less than a week after a fire swept through a Lima drug rehabilitation center, killing 14 people in the second such blaze this year. A similar fire in late January claimed 29 lives, prompting Masías to acknowledge that the state has limited capacity for treating drug addicts. A 2010 DEVIDA study found that Peru has 222 private rehab centers containing 700 beds. But 80 percent of those centers are unlicensed, and many lack doctors and psychologists. This is one reason the Humala government is seeking additional help from Washington. “My visit to the United States is first, to thank a brother country for its constant support over the years in our struggle against drugs. This is a global problem and the U.S. is our principal partner in this fight,” she said, noting that “this is a very important moment for Peru. We have the political will, our economy is increasing by 7 percent a year and our government is committed to this struggle.” DEVIDA boosts spending on anti-drug programs Before her current position, Masías represented Partners of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization and other regional bodies, and developed courses for the Peruvian National Police. A renowned social development expert, she’s also written extensively on gangs and organized crime. Masías, who adamantly opposes the legalization of drugs — a subject raised during last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia — said Peru’s anti-drug budget has jumped from $13.4 million in 2002 to $101.9 million in 2011. This year, despite a substantial drop in international assistance, the government will spend more than double that amount ($223 million) and is projected to further increase anti-drug expenditures to $278.3 million in 2013, $284.9 million in 2014 and $291.5 million in 2015. Yet over roughly that same time frame, global production of cocaine has skyrocketed, from 140 metric tons in 2000 to 325 tons in 2010. Colombia accounts for roughly 42 percent of that total, followed by Peru (39 percent) and Bolivia (19 percent), according to UNODC statistics. In Peru, some 61,200 hectares of land in 14 distinct regions are devoted to the coca crop, led by three regions: Valle Río Apurímac-Ene (19,723 hectares, or 32 percent); La Convención-Lares (13,330 hectares, or 22 percent) and Alto Huallaga (13,025 hectares, or 21 percent). Drug use increasing The number of Peruvians who use illegal drugs continues to rise. In 2010, the country reported some 168,000 marijuana smokers, 143,000 users of coca paste and cocaine, 14,300 inhalant abusers and 5,800 ecstasy addicts. In addition, some 30,000 Peruvians get hooked on cocaine every year, she said, and 47 percent of those new users are younger than 25. “Peru produces cocaine but we also consume it, and we’re a transit country. The United States has reduced cocaine consumption by 50 percent, but Brazil has increased substantially, so the panorama is changing,” said Masías. In fact, only 4 percent of Peru’s coca production ends up being snorted by Americans; the “vast majority” of it is smuggled to neighboring Brazil. “There is no real possibility of having success unless we eradicate the crop,” she said. Last year, authorities destroyed 10,290 hectares of coca, down from a peak of 12,033 hectares in 2010, and 10,025 hectares the year before. “Eradication is absolutely necessary,” she said.“Positive results have been found where eradication was accompanied by alternative development programs. Negative results have been found where there was no eradication.” Masías said DEVIDA’s goal this year is to eradicate 14,000 hectares of coca, a 40 increase over last year’s figures. That would increase to 18,000 hectares in 2013, 22,000 hectares in 2014, 26,000 hectares in 2015 and 30,000 hectares in 2016 — a total of 30 percent over the next five years. Masías: Eradication can’t succeed without alternative development DEVIDA also aims to provide alternative development programs to 68,000 Peruvian families this year, increasing that by 4,000 families annually to reach 84,000 families by 2016. Among the most successful alternative development programs are those involving cash crops like coffee, cacao and winter vegetables. Some 1,000 former cocaleros are now harvesting palm oil, she said, with annual profits of about $17,000 a year per family. In 2000, total revenues of the 14 agricultural entities in DEVIDA’s alternative development program came to $15 million. By 2009, total sales of those 14 entities had jumped to $72 million — rising further to $101 million in 2010 and an impressive $140 million last year, thanks to excellent prices for coffee and cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate. “This involves the active participation of small agricultural producers who leave illicit crops, as well as a change of attitude toward the problem,” she said, emphasizing that only sustainable crops with access to domestic and foreign markets are likely to remain viable over the long term. One of the biggest drawbacks, however, remains Peru’s long-running war against the Shining Path. That conflict has killed some 70,000 people since 1980, when the group was established. “The Sendero Luminoso is definitely financed by the narcotraffickers,” Masías said. “The worst thing is that they are capturing children as young as 8 or 9 years old. This is unconscionable.” The Shining Path is a shadow of the Maoist rebel group that once terrorized the country 20 years ago, with only 300 to 500 hard-core fighters believed to remain in the Ene and Apurimac Valley region, where most of Peru’s coca is cultivated. Yet the group has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent months. In April, the rebels kidnapped 36 natural-gas workers and in the past two months have killed nine police officers and soldiers. Empowering women is key to success Peru, which next month hosts an anti-drug summit for 80 countries, has also stepped up confiscation of chemical products and controlled substances used in the manufacture of drugs. The average seizure of chemical products is now 2,500 metric tons — up 400 percent from 2007. Masías said that while much emphasis has been placed on alternative development and interdiction and punishment of narcotics smugglers, the third part of DEVIDA’s three-pronged strategy — prevention and rehabilitation of drug abusers — is equally important. That means boosting educational programs and advertising campaigns that warn about the dangers of drug abuse; strengthening programs to help drug users quit the habit, and generating job opportunities for young people — particularly women with limited education who are often the most vulnerable members of society. It is precisely these women who live in coca-growing regions that play a key role in getting their families to switch from coca to other crops like coffee and cacao. A number of DEVIDA programs offer technical training and management advice for Peruvian women who want to get out of the coca business once and for all. “We don’t want to see women only as victims, but also as agents of change,” Masías told her audience. “Stigmatization is not the answer.” By Dialogo May 21, 2012last_img read more

Reflections of Fidel: NATO’s genocidal role (Part III)

first_img 11 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Share Fidel Castro. Image via: globalresearch.ca“ON February 23, under the title “Cynicism’s,” danse macabre, I stated:“The politics of plunder imposed by the United States and its NATO allies in the Middle East is in crisis.”“Thanks to Sadat’s betrayal at Camp David, the Palestinian Arab State has not come into existence, despite the United Nations agreements of November 1947, and Israel has become a powerful nuclear force allied with the United States and NATO.“The U.S. military-industrial complex supplies tens of billions of dollars every year to Israel and to the very Arab states that it subjugates and humiliates.“The genie is out of the bottle and NATO doesn’t know how to control it.“They are going to try and take maximum advantage of the lamentable events in Libya. No one is capable of knowing at this time what is happening there. All of the figures and versions, even the most improbable, have been disseminated by the empire through the mass media, sowing chaos and misinformation.“It is evident that a civil war is developing in Libya. Why and how was this unleashed? Who will suffer the consequences? The Reuters news agency, repeating the opinion of the well-known Nomura Japanese bank, said that the price of oil could surpass all limits.”“…What will be the consequences for the food crisis?“The principal NATO leaders are exalted. British Prime MinisterDavid Cameron, informed ANSA, ‘…admitted in a speech in Kuwait that the Western countries made a mistake in supporting non-democratic governments in the Arab world.’”“His French colleague Nicolas Sarkozy declared, ‘The prolonged brutal and bloody repression of the Libyan civilian population is repugnant.’”“Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini declared ‘believable’ the figure of one thousand dead in Tripoli […] ‘the tragic figure will be a bloodbath.’”“Hillary Clinton declared, ‘…the bloodbath is completely unacceptable and has to stop…’”“Ban Ki-moon added, ‘The use of violence in the country is absolutely unacceptable.’”“…’the Security Council will act in accordance with what the international community decides.’”“’We are considering a number of options.’”“What Ban Ki-moon is really waiting for is that Obama give the final word.“The President of the United States spoke Wednesday afternoon and stated that the Secretary of State would leave for Europe in order to reach an agreement with the NATO European allies as to what measures to take. Noticeable on his face was his readiness to take on the right-wing Republican John McCain; Joseph Lieberman, the pro-Israel Senator from Connecticut; and Tea Party leaders, in order to guarantee his nomination by the Democratic Party.“The empire’s mass media have prepared the ground for action. There would be nothing strange about a military intervention in Libya, which would, additionally, guarantee Europe almost two million barrels of light oil a day, if events do not occur beforehand to put an end to the presidency or life of Gaddafi.“In any event, Obama’s role is complicated enough. What would the Arab and Islamic world’s reaction be if much blood is spilt in this country in such an adventure? Would the revolutionary wave unleashed in Egypt stop a NATO intervention?“In Iraq the innocent blood of more than a million Arab citizens was shed when this country was invaded on false pretenses. Mission accomplished, George W. Bush proclaimed.“No one in the world will ever be in favor of the deaths of defenseless civilians in Libya or anywhere else. I ask myself, would the United States and NATO apply that principle to the defenseless civilians killed every day by yankee drones and this organization’s soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistan?“It is a danse macabre of cynicism.”While I was meditating on these events, the United Nations debate scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday, October 25 on the “Necessity of ending the commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba began. This is something which has been demanded by the vast majority of this institution’s member countries for 20 years.This time the numerous elemental and just arguments – which for United States governments were no more than rhetorical exercises – revealed, like never before, the political and moral weakness of the most powerful empire ever to have existed, and to whose oligarchical interests and insatiable thirst for power and riches all the planet’s inhabitants have been subjected, including the very people of that country.The United States is tyrannizing and plundering the globalized world with its political, economic, technological and military might.That truth is becoming more and more obvious in the wake of the honest and courageous debates which have taken place in the United Nations during the last 20 years, with the support of states which one would imagine are expressing the will of the vast majority of the planet’s inhabitants.Before [Cuban Foreign Minister] Bruno’s speech, many country organizations expressed their points of view through one of their members. The first was Argentina, in the name of the Group of 77 plus China; followed by Egypt, in the name of the Non-Aligned Movement; Kenya, in the name of the African Union; Belize, in the name of CARICOM; Kazakhstan, in the name of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; and Uruguay, in the name of MERCOSUR.Independently of these expressions of a collective nature, China, a country of growing political and economic weight in the world, India and Indonesia strongly supported the resolution via their ambassadors; between the three of them they represent 2.7 billion inhabitants. The ambassadors of the Russian Federation, Belarus, South Africa, Algeria, Venezuela and Mexico did likewise. The impassioned words of solidarity expressed by the ambassador of Belize, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean community, and those of St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Bolivia, resonated among the poorest countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Their arguments in the context of the solidarity of our people – despite a blockade which has already lasted 50 years – will be a constant stimulus for our doctors, educators and scientists.Nicaragua spoke before the vote, to bravely explain why it would vote against this perfidious measure.The United States representative also spoke before the vote, in order to explain the inexplicable. I felt sorry for him. It is the role that they assigned to him.At the hour of voting, two countries were absent: Libya and Sweden; three abstained: Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau; two voted against: the United States and Israel. Adding together those who voted against, abstained or were absent: the United States, with 313 million inhabitants; Israel, with 7.4 million; Sweden, with 9.1 million; Libya, with 6.5 million; Marshall Islands, with 67,100; Micronesia, 106,800; Palau, with 20,900, the total amounts to 336.948 million, equivalent to 4.8% of the world population, which has already risen to seven billion this month.After the vote, speaking in the name of the European Union, Poland explained the votes of members of this bloc which, in spite of its close alliance with the United States and its obligatory participation in the blockade, is against this criminal measure.Subsequently, 17 countries addressed the Assembly to explain, resolutely and decisively, why they voted for the resolution against the blockade.I will continue Friday the 28th.Fidel Castro RuzOctober 26, 2011. 9:45 p.m.center_img Tweet Share NewsRegional Reflections of Fidel: NATO’s genocidal role (Part III) by: – October 27, 2011last_img read more

Report: Social Security Pulling Thousands Out Of Poverty

first_imgAs Social Security marks its 79 year anniversary, a report finds it is providing great benefits to Indiana families and the economy. (Image: Zimmytws/iStockphoto.com)INDIANAPOLIS — A report highlights the ways, at the ripe old age of 79, Social Security is helping neighbors in Indiana and the economy. While pensions have changed, jobs have been lost and homes have lost equity. Eric Kingson, co-director with Social Security Works says the program is still strong and lifted 500,000 Indiana residents out of poverty in 2012.“Social Security is not about financing,” says Kingson. “The end is the well-being of the American people and the kind of society we want. We want a system where we all work together and provide this kind of protection.”According to the report, one-in-five Hoosiers received Security Security benefits in 2013, totaling over $18 billion. Despite concerns about the program’s solvency, Kingson says it is actually only facing a modest shortfall in the future. This year’s Social Security Trustees report projects the program can pay all benefits in full for nearly two decades. After that, Kingson says, it could still pay 77 cents on every dollar of earned benefits.“It’s important Social Security keep all its commitments without cutting benefits,” he says. “Instead of believing the hype the program is sinking and needs to be dismantled, the discussion should focus on ways to strengthen it. Like our highway system occasionally, it has to be adjusted,” Kingston says. “You run into some bumps into the road, but you don’t start talk about ripping up the system. But the folks who want to destroy it, who want to rip it up piece by piece, they do start talking about, ‘The sky is falling.’”Millionaires and billionaires only make Social Security payroll contributions on their first $117,000 of earnings. Kingson says having everyone pay the same rate would help close Social Security’s entire projected 75-year funding gap.Mary Kuhlmanlast_img read more

Super Early Bird offer for next year’s Betting on Football

first_img Submit Xtremepush secures ‘OpenMarket’ supplier accreditation   August 26, 2020 Share FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 Related Articles Share StumbleUpon Mark Wilson: How FSB is meeting the recreational cricket punter’s demands August 20, 2020 Super Early Bird tickets are now available for next year’s Betting on Football conference, which returns to the home of Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge from 19-22 March 2019.All the ‘Early Birds’ who purchase tickets before Friday 14 December will get a £200 discount off the full ticket price, for an event featuring up to 2,000 senior delegates, space for 40 exhibitors and 200 world class speakers.These speakers will be spread across the following six conference tracks – Leadership & Vision, Betting on Innovation, Betting on Marketing, Global Markets, Tackling the Issues and Sport In Focus.On the first day, Leadership & Vision will delve into football’s fight to regain the public’s trust and consider whether new brands can compete within a saturated market, while Betting on Innovation will explore potential disruption around blockchain, retail betting and pool betting, as well as early ramifications of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).Betting on Marketing looks at engaging the female fan base and taking request a bet type markets to the next level, as well as inviting delegates to apply a ‘2020 Vision’ to the European Championships, which prepares to host a record 32 nations across 12 cities.Day two delivers a tour of the hottest ‘Global Markets’ including a focus on regulation-seeking India, PASPA-less US and new licensees in the Swedish market, while ‘Tackling the Issues’ extends to the impending gambling advertising crackdown in Italy, how automation can tackle problem gambling and addressing the pain in payments.  For the first time, our traditional ‘Sport in Focus’ track includes latest developments in both esports and virtual sports, alongside the industry’s plans for next summer’s Cricket World Cup and a quickfire reaction to UK horse racing’s headline Cheltenham Festival.Once again, Betting on Football will also provide an opportunity to make high level connections through networking parties at some of the best venues in London – Frankie’s Bar and Namco Funscape, with the closing party venue yet to be named.Frankie’s Bar will host pre-registration drinks on Tuesday 19 March, while the official networking party on Wednesday 20 March returns to Namco Funscape – which includes free use of facilities including arcade machines, pool tables, bowling lanes and bumper cars, before we finish off Thursday 21 March with an outstanding closing party.Super Early Bird tickets for the biggest ever Betting on Football conference, headline sponsored by OPTIMA and SG Digital, are available for just £399 (+VAT) until 13 December. After this date, ticket prices will revert to the standard rate of £599 (+VAT).Reflecting on last year’s Betting on Football, Jamie Knowlson, CEO of Checkd Media, said: “Thank you as always for your fantastic hospitality this week. Myself and all the team had a great time – we all agree it’s one of the best events of the year.”Francesco Carione, Managing Director of La Gazzetta dello Sport, added: “It was a very interesting conference with a lot of relevant people from different backgrounds and different countries, so you can hear stories from different angles. I think this is what you want coming into a senior executive focused conference like this.”Sports Betting Hall of Famer Mark Blandford, the Founder of Sportingbet and Chairman of FSB, concluded: “Well, to FSB as a B2B sports betting supplier Betting on Football is a hugely important event; it’s probably one of the biggest customer acquisition events that we get during the year.”For those wishing to enquire about sponsorship opportunities for Betting on Football conference & exhibition, please contact our sales team via [email protected] or call +44 (0) 161 367 1650.last_img read more