Uruguay: Plan to legalize marijuana
Plan to tackle insecurity includes the legalization of marijuana and control over media; Wen Jiabo visits Montevideo while China becomes second commercial partner.
Plan to legalize marijuana consumption
The Executive Power announced a 16-measure programme to combat insecurity in Uruguay this week. This would include the legalization of marijuana consumption. They would register those who buy it and prices would include tax.
They aim to tackle the conscumption of cocaine which has been held responsible for crime, particularly amongst underage offenders. If marijuana is legalized, the State hopes that drugs would be more controlled.
Additionally, they expect to reduce regional drugs trafficking with this measure. Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Hubidobro explained that the struggle to legalize marijuana would form part of Uruguay’s external policies.
First, the measure needs to pass through Parliament, where a long and extended debate is expected.
Proposal to control violent content in the media
The programme to tackle insecurity also includes measures to control the media. These were strongly rejected by the Uruguayan National Broadcasters Association (ANDEBU).
The plan is to incorporate news shows into the protected child friendly time. This would be complemented by the promotion of self-regulation by media in order to deal with news connected with insecurity and violence.
The ANDEBU believes this measure would distort democracy given that the media would be controlled and thus weaken its role in society.
Mujica invites Wen Jiabao to Uruguay
Wen Jiabao, Chinese prime minister, arrived in Montevideo on Friday. The visit corresponds with the recent announcement made by the Uruguayan Foreign Office regarding China’s position as their second most important commercial partner.
In 2011 9% of Uruguayan exports were taken by China. This was valued at US$ 665 million while Chinese imports represented US$ 1.393 million.
Figures would reach balance if the exports of Uruguayan tax-free zones are taken into consideration. This leaves the bilateral exchange at a total of approximately US$ 2,500 million.
The principal export from Uruguay to China is Soya. It represents 50% of the total exports, followed by wool, meat and wood.
Wen Jiabao’ s visit is the first one made by a Chinese prime minister to Uruguay. President Mujica invited him last April.