Colombia’s Uribe Urges Venezuelan Military to Rebel against Maduro Regime

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Apr 20, 2017, 1:31 pm
Former president Alvaro Uribe has called upon Venezuela's military to refuse to follow Maduro's orders (
Former president Alvaro Uribe has called upon Venezuela’s military to refuse to follow Maduro’s orders (Centro Democratico).

Former president and current senator Alvaro Uribe Vélez, during a demonstration of Venezuelans in Bogota against Nicolás Maduro, said that the armed forces must disobey the mandate of what he described as “a dictatorship.”

Uribe called on the Venezuelan military to put their rifles in the service of democracy and asked the armed forces of the country ruled by Maduro not to continue firing on their own people, and to “ignore the dictatorship’s mandate,” he said in front of journalists according to the Nuevo Herald and EFE news agency.

“What they have to do is to put their weapons at the service of democratic values, never against the people who are today the victims of that opprobrious dictatorship. I hope Venezuela will quickly overcome this tragedy,” the senator added.

Uribe described the Venezuelan people as a prime “example of civil society” because of the marches carried out by the opposition to the government and criticized the role of the international community in the current crisis in the neighboring country of Colombia, but said that it is already beginning to awaken. He heralded the current debates taking place in the OAS, where the possibility of applying the democratic charter is being contemplated.

The senator also denounced the possible presence of 4,000 FARC guerrillas in Venezuela, who, according to him, are backed by the dictatorship. This complaint had already been made by the governor of the state of Amazonas in Venezuela, Liborio Gaurulla.

Yesterday, on Wednesday, April 19, Venezuelans gathered in one of the largest opposition marchers of recent times. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski called for the protests to be repeated today. In the last three weeks six days of protests have left seven people dead.

The catalyst for the protests was a recent Supreme Court decision that usurped functions of the National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition.

Source: El Nuevo Herald

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

Getting “Tough” on the Drug War Won’t Solve the US Opioid Crisis

By: Guest Contributor - Apr 20, 2017, 1:16 pm

By Dan King Last month, President Donald Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the head of a task force aimed at curbing opioid use and abuse. On April 11, it was announced that Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino would likely step down from his current position to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as the “drug czar.” However, increased drug control is unlikely to prevent drug-related deaths. Before instituting harsher drug policies, Christie and Marino must acknowledge that drug regulation has already made the situation deadlier. Throughout his political career, Christie vowed to further regulate various drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin. Despite his “get tough” attitude on narcotics, his state has seen opioid deaths climb by 214 percent since 2010.  Yet Christie continues to make battling overdoses his top, and seemingly only, priority in his final year in office. He recently signed a bill into law that bars doctors from issuing a script of longer than five days for first-time painkiller prescriptions. It also requires that any prescription of a pain killer for acute pain is the “lowest effective dose.” Read More: Common Objections to Skeptics of Trump’s Immigration Ban, Answered Read More: Protecting Maduro, Santos Turns his Back on Colombians Similarly, in his time in Congress, Marino has focused a lot on drug issues. He introduced drug regulation bills in the house, including the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act which aims to stop drug trafficking across borders, and a bill that increases collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Agency and prescription pill companies. While these may sound like well-intentioned policies aimed at curbing the nation’s drug problems, similar initiatives have made the situation worse in the past. Unsuccessful History In 2011, Colorado officials increased regulations on prescription drugs. While opiate deaths decreased by six percent in 2016, heroin deaths increased by 23 percent and cocaine deaths by 50 percent. While correlation doesn't equal causation, health leaders in that state, including Executive Director of the Department of Health Larry Wolk, have suggested those who were abusing prescription opioids moved to heroin and cocaine when the pills became more difficult to acquire, thereby leading to the spike in related deaths. Throughout history, particularly during the Progressive Era, other regulatory initiatives have been harmful as well. In 1914, Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. The law taxed and regulated opium and coca leaves. Harvard historian Lisa McGirr argues in her recent book, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, that this prohibition made way for more dangerous drugs. “Heroin had come into circulation to fill a void in the market after the Harrison Act and the Jones Miller Act dried up domestic sources of cocaine and opium,” McGirr writes in the final chapter of her book. She suggests: “Ironically, heroin trafficking increased in no small part due to the suppression of less harmful narcotic substances.” That’s what happens when one drug is criminalized or over-regulated – a more dangerous version takes its place. That’s become abundantly clear since President Richard Nixon launched the second War on Drugs in 1971. Over the last few decades, drug warriors like Nixon and Ronald Reagan have made the drug issue even worse, with a focus on law enforcement and the “Just Say No” campaign. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); The same thing is happening in modern America. Constant crackdowns on heroin have led addicts to find stronger and more dangerous alternatives. Black market “heroin” often comes mixed with incredibly strong drugs like fentanyl, carfentanil, and W-18. The mixing has led to users not knowing what (and how much) they are putting in their bodies. Western California University professor Audrey Redford attributes the rise in “designer drugs” and other dangerous substances to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which has created the modern “scheduling” system for illicit substances in America. Over the last decade and a half, there’s been a notable increase in drug overdose deaths from 6.1 per 100,000 in 1999 to 16.3 per 100,000 in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While those numbers aren’t quite epidemic levels, they’d be lower without the black market that prohibition has created. To slow drug deaths, the Trump administration needs to realize that regulation has caused many of the ills we see today. Christie and Marino’s regulatory tendencies, combined with the hardline, anti-drug approach of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will make the human toll of the nation’s drug problem drastically worse. Addicts will continue to be driven to the black market to get their fix, leading to more death and disease. Dan King is a Young Voices Advocate and a journalist residing in New York’s Adirondacks. He writes about free speech and civil liberties and can be found on Twitter @Kinger_Editor. This article was originally published on Read the original article.

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