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Society

The U.S.-Colombia 'War On Drugs' Has Failed: What Comes Next?

The Biden administration and Colombia's new government seem to agree on the need for a new approach to drugs policy. But will they be able to find support in their countries to forge a new strategy?

BOGOTÁ - Some early directives by Colombia's new president Gustavo Petro suggest he sees the 2016 peace accords with the The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as failed or at best unfinished. Founded in 1964, FARC, the armed wing of the Communist Party, have been fighting the longest-running armed insurgency in the Western hemisphere.

Signed in 2016 under former president Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, the accords were meant to bring peace to the country, yet that peace has been patchy. This is not because another communist guerrilla force in the country, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has refused to join the peace arrangements, nor is it because of the last government's failure to implement the accord.

The problem clearly concerns drug trafficking, which has continued unperturbed since 2016. While drug use remains illegal, drug trafficking, which has long helped FARC fund its insurgency, will always be highly profitable and foment violence. So is it time to decriminalize drug use?

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Germany's Cynical Solution To The Energy Crisis: "Green Colonialism"

Germany has supplies of climate-damaging resources like oil, gas, coal, lithium. But faced with an energy crisis, its government, including the Greens, has opted to outsource extraction to Latin America. The party's betrayal of its core values has not gone unnoticed.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — The experienced environmental activists from Ende Gelände, known for occupying coal mines, already have their sights set on the next target.

Their latest campaign was to defend the village of Lützerath in western Germany, close to the Dutch border, against eviction and demolition. The declared opponent is the energy company RWE. Its plans to promote lignite, the most polluting of coal types, were recently fought with a climate camp lasting several days and a demonstration to preserve the village.

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It is precisely these protests that Germany's so-called traffic light coalition, especially the Green Party's cabinet members Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, fear. They call into question their party's essence: climate and environmental protection.

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Train Station Strike Kills 25 In Ukraine, Monsoon Toll, Around The World At 17

👋 Mbote!*

Welcome to Thursday, where the death toll is mounting in Russia’s attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine, Pakistan is asking for international aid amid months of extreme floods, and a British-Belgian pilot becomes the youngest to fly solo around the world. Meanwhile, Colombian daily El Espectador looks at how the city of Medellín has turned into (to quote the locals) "Sodom and Gonorrhea."

[*Lingala - mboh-teh]

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How Medellín Became Colombia's "Open Air" Brothel

Medellín was once a mix of conservative values and hidden perversions, but socio-economic troubles and the pandemic have coincided to make the city, in the words of locals, "Sodom and Gonorrhea."

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — In the 1940s, Medellín wasn't just Colombia's chief industrial city but also boasted the most brothels, sex workers and "red light" districts.

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food / travel
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

Family Sacrifice: How I Found My Colombian Grandmother At Eid In Morocco

The writer, a Bogota native, was in Tangier for the recent celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice. She had been warned about how shocking the ceremony could be, but an impromptu invitation from a local family brought her back to her own.

TANGIER — Four years ago I went to Rabat, Morocco as an exchange student from my native Colombia, arriving in early August just after the Eid al-Adha celebrations, the festival of sacrifice that was so important for the worldwide Muslim community.

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Green
María Mónica Monsalve

Mineral Mining, The Dirty Secret Of The Clean Energy Industry

Green technologies are crucial to reducing carbon emissions, but they require ramping up the need for mining of minerals. And since mineral extraction can cause grave natural destruction, how can we ensure renewables are truly good for the environment?

BOGOTÁ — In the course of international debates on climate change, 2015 was a key year. Representatives of 196 nations signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep the average rise in world temperatures to well below 2°C. Signing the pact was challenging enough, but implementing it was and will be even more difficult.

The UN's climate change panel (I.P.C.C.) of scientists in fact noticed an increase in climate-warming emissions between 2010 and 2019. While the sources of this rise are varied, they are largely based on our collective energy consumption, specifically the use of fossil fuels.

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Ideas
El Espectador

The Meaning Of Petro: A Former Guerrilla As President Is Colombian Democracy At Work

Gustavo Petro's victory is not only a response to the social ills of today, but having been part of a Marxist guerrilla group that negotiated with the state decades ago, and returned to the social fold, he embodies the nation's democratic future.

-Editorial-

BOGOTÁ — After decades of stigmatizing anything to do with the Left — to the point of annihilating an entire political party for its ideas — Colombia has elected for the first time — and quite decisively — a president of the Left. The election of Gustavo Petro and his vice-president, Francia Márquez, was itself one of the promises of the peace Colombia has sought for so long: with an orderly handover of power, the inclusion of all political positions and the possibility to work through our differences by voting.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri and Lisa Berdet

Ukraine War To “Intensify,” Former Guerrilla Wins Colombian Presidency, Open Buffett

👋 Здраво!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine braces for intensified Russian attacks, there are major election results in Colombia and France, and someone is prepared to pay a whole lot of money to share a meal with Warren Buffett. Meanwhile, French finance daily Les Echos looks up at the repercussions of the Ukraine war — in space.

[*Zdravo - Serbian]

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Geopolitics
El Espectador

Showdown Of Populists From Left And Right Looms In Colombia Presidential Runoff

Colombians spurned the establishment candidates in the first round of presidential voting. In the second round, on June 19, they will have to choose between Gustavo Petro, a former Marxist guerrilla, and Rodolfo Hernández a "tough-talking" businessman being compared to Donald Trump.

-Editorial-

BOGOTÁ — Colombians went out on May 29 to make themselves heard. Early figures showed participation was higher than the first round of presidential elections in 2018, and what we saw was a motivated citizen body actively taking part in the elections to make an impact. It was a relief that — after years of social tensions — Colombians found in voting an eloquent language with which to express themselves.

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Economy
María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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Ideas
J. D. Torres Duarte

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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Geopolitics
Nahuel Gallotta

Pink Cocaine: New Mystery Drug Hits Buenos Aires Club Scene

'Tuci,' as it's known locally, is making its mark in the Argentina. But is it really the designer drug 2C-B, or just a dirty mix concocted by Colombian dealers?

BUENOS AIRES The "menu" of options, sent every other week via WhatsApp, arrived like it always did, Josefina (not her real name) recalls. Only this time there was something that caught her eye besides the constantly increasing prices. "Tuci," it said.

Josefina's dealer was offering a new drug, one she'd never heard of before. And at 1,500 Argentine peso (46 euros) per gram, Tuci was the priciest of the lot. Surprised — and also curious — resent the list to a group of WhatsApp contacts. She wanted to see what her friends thought.

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