The New Paradigm in Argentina

Human Rights and Harm Reduction are slowly becoming a reality

By Mike Bifari

When Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became for the second time president on Dec. 10, after winning a majority of votes in the last election(more than 53%), nobody expected her to make so fast a significant change in her secretary staff.

Two days after, on Dec. 12, it was officially  announced that Mr. Jose Granero, in  charge  of  the Sedronar (DEA representative), was no longer  in  office.  Mr. Granero had continued encounters with minister  Anibal Fernandez, whose approach is for a more human- rights, harm-reduction policy. Fernandez made a great campaign, demonstrating the failure of the war on drugs policy, and worked hard to make a strong political base to begin a big change, not only in Argentina but also internationally.

It is no secret that Argentina and Uruguay are working together to defend this new paradigm in the United Nations.

This is a total confirmation of what had started three years ago, when the Supreme Court gave a new vision of toler- ance, declaring that small amounts or amounts that are no doubt for personal use can no longer be criminalized.

There are currently six initiatives to change the current drug law. All possible changes are positive, taking into account that for growing cannabis, the law says between four and 15 years in prison. Apart from this, nobody seems to be going to prison now. We had an average of 15,000 arrests for small amounts in the last year, but only three tri- als went orally. The rest were dismissed. That means that the only ones who also are not interested in changes are the lawyers and the justice employees, who virtually steal the evidence, making small arrangements with corrupted cops. This combination is the closest that we can imagine to how a real cartel can start.

When there are corruption, drugs, and prohibition, then it is just a matter of time to see violent gangs appear. Fortunately, the government is showing a different path to walk, and we from the already strong Argentine cannabis movement are watching carefully to help the new policies become real.

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