Mexican Court Orders Govt To Detail Medical Marijuana Rules

In this file photo taken on January 01, 2018 a budtender (right) shows cannabis buds to a customer at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, at the Green Pearl Organics marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, California. PHOTO: ROBYN BECK / AFP

 

The Mexican Supreme Court ordered the government to come up with rules surrounding the use of medical Mexican Supreme CourtWednesday after granting a child permission to use a drug derived from cannabis to treat epilepsy.

The Ministry of Health has 180 business days to establish regulations around the therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives, the country’s top court said in a statement.

Mexico’s Congress approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2017 after a two-year fight, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office late last year, has said he would consider legalizing certain drugs.

His government, however, revoked a decision that authorized the sale of 38 cannabis-derived products, such as dietary supplements, drinks, and cosmetics, to be sold in pharmacies.

The court said the agency should have issued the rules within 180 days after the original decree legalizing medical marijuana came into effect in June 2017, and since they hadn’t, the child had been forced to seek permission from authorities to use cannabis oil.

“With the absence of norms to regulate the use of therapeutic use of cannabis, it is impossible for the claimant to access treatment related to this substance,” the court said.

The Ministry of Health responded in a statement, saying it would “fully comply” with the ruling and added it would ensure the child’s treatment.

The Mexican government began a fight against drugs in 2006 that unleashed a wave of violence that has left more than a quarter of a million people killed and 40,000 people missing, according to official data.

AFP

Mexican President Took $100m Drug Bribe, Trial Hears

This evidence undated photo released by the US Department of Justice on January 8, 2019, shows Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman (L), according to the department. HO / US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE / AFP

 

Former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto accepted a $100 million bribe from drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a former collaborator told the kingpin’s trial.

Alex Cifuentes, a Colombian who is now collaborating with US prosecutors in the Chapo trial, made the statement under examination from defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman.

“Mr. Guzman paid a bribe of $100 million to President Pena Nieto,?” the lawyer asked.

“That is right,” Cifuentes responded, although later he said he was not sure of the exact amount.

“The message was that Mr. Guzman didn’t have to stay in hiding,?” the lawyer asked.

Cifuentes said yes, that is what Guzman told him.

Cifuentes said he worked with the kingpin from 2007 until being arrested in 2013 and at first even lived with him for two years in the mountains of Mexico’s Sinaloa region for two years.

Guzman is accused of smuggling more than 155 tons of cocaine into the United States over a period of 25 years. If convicted, the 61-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars in a maximum security US prison.

When the Chapo trial began in November, Lichtman argued that Guzman was the scapegoat of corrupt Mexican governments, turncoat colleagues and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the defense made those arguments, Pena Nieto was still president and his office denied the charges. He was replaced in November by the newly elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In Mexico, Francisco Guzman, who was chief of staff to Pena Nieto, on Tuesday rejected the allegations from the Colombian, Cifuentes.

“The statements by the Colombian drug trafficker in New York are false, defamatory and absurd,” said Guzman.

AFP

Maradona’s Club Fall Short In Second-Division Final

The coach of Mexican second division football team Dorados, Argentine Diego Armando Maradona, arrives for the second leg match of the final against Atletico San Luis, at the Alfonso Lastras Ramirez stadium in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on December 2, 2018. Ulises Ruiz / AFP

Diego Maradona’s new club, Dorados, fell just short of winning the Mexican second-division final and a shot at promotion on Sunday, abruptly ending the Cinderella story of the Argentine legend’s latest foray into coaching.

Dorados, from the western state of Sinaloa, lost their second-leg final to Atletico San Luis, who pulled off a 4-2 victory in extra time at home to win the title series 4-3 on aggregate.

Maradona raised eyebrows when it was announced in September he was taking the managing job at struggling Dorados, who was then in 13th place in their 15-team league.

Skeptics questioned what interest the 1986 World Cup champion from Argentina, who has publicly battled drug addiction and alcoholism, could have in moving to a place better known for drug cartels than football.

But he answered his critics with an emphatic series of wins, improbably coaching the team to the championship and within spitting distance of promotion to the first division.

Maradona, 58, had to watch the match from the stands, after being sent off near the end of Dorados’s first-leg victory for launching a tirade against the officials when he thought his team should have been awarded a penalty.

His club opened the scoring in the central city of San Luis Potosi and claimed the lead again in the 57th minute after the hosts equalized.

That second Dorados goal, in particular, elicited a euphoric celebration from El Diego, who used a walkie-talkie throughout the match to give orders to his assistant coach, Luis Islas, on the sideline.

But San Luis tied it up again nine minutes later on a Dorado’s own goal, and then drove home two more of their own — the latter in extra time, courtesy of Argentine Leandro Torres — to claim the match and the series.

Fanbase boosted 

Maradona’s arrival has fueled unprecedented interest in the Mexican second division.

A plethora of Maradona scarves, jerseys and other merchandise was on offer outside the stadium ahead of the match.

Ecstatic Dorados fans who had traveled more than 12 hours by car for the match were buoyant going in.

“The team was down on its luck, but since he arrived, he’s raised them up enormously,” said Daniel Santiago, 28.

Back in Culiacan, the state capital of Sinaloa, the large crowds of fans who had gathered to watch the match in local bars and restaurants were disappointed, but not giving up hope.

“Here’s hoping they keep Maradona on and sign some new talent. He’s already shown he knows how to do the job right,” said one fan.

This would have been the first coaching championship for Maradona, whose managerial career has lacked the sparkle of his playing days.

His previous coaching jobs included teams ranging from the Argentine national side to clubs in his home country and the Middle East.

AFP

Mexican President Shelves Visit With Trump Over Border Wall

U.S. Border Patrol agents question undocumented immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border fence before transporting them to a U.S. Border Patrol processing center on February 21, 2018 near McAllen, Texas. A group of men, women and children from Central America were picked up after crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, seeking political asylum in the United States. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Mexico and the United States have shelved tentative plans for a visit to Washington by President Enrique Pena Nieto as tensions persist over a proposed border wall, US media reported Saturday.

Pena Nieto had already cancelled a visit in January last year because of US President Donald Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for the wall, which he wants as part of his efforts to curb immigration.

The White House had said in mid-February that the two presidents were working on arranging a meeting.

But The Washington Post, which first reported cancellation of the provisional meeting, said both countries agreed to call it off after a testy telephone call ended in an impasse over the border barrier.

The phone call took place last Tuesday.

Citing US and Mexican officials, the Post said Trump “would not agree to publicly affirm Mexico’s position that it would not fund construction of a border wall that the Mexican people widely consider offensive.”

Pena Nieto’s visit had been considered for February or March, the Post said, but the Mexican leader wanted to avoid public embarrassment.

Building the border wall was a primary pledge of the 2016 presidential campaign by Trump, who says the barrier is necessary for his country’s security.

Asked about the reports, a Mexican presidential source told AFP there would be no comment.

“There’s nothing additional to the last Tuesday statement,” the source said, referring to comments after the phone call.

Both countries said at the time that they agreed in their call to boost cooperation on security, trade and migration.

In addition to disagreement over the wall, Trump’s attacks on Mexican immigrants and threats to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement have strained relations between the neighbors.

The leaders did meet once, on the sidelines of the G20 summit of major economies in Hamburg, Germany, last July.

Mexico goes to the polls this July as Pena Nieto approaches the end of his term, with his Institutional Revolutionary Party deeply unpopular.

AFP

Mexican Death Toll Hits 248

Rescue crews and ordinary citizens searched through rubble for survivors as night fell on Tuesday in Mexico City as the death toll from the massive quake was revised up to 248.

The magnitude 7.1 quake toppled dozens of buildings, broke gas mains and sparked fires less than two weeks after another powerful quake killed at least 98 people in southern Mexico. In the Mexico City suburb of Chimalpopoca, emergency officials searched through rubble for possible survivors after a local factory collapsed.

Emergency personnel in Mexico City, a metropolitan region of about 20 million people, searched frantically with picks and shovels for survivors beneath the rubble of what the sprawling city’s mayor calculated to be as many as 44 collapsed buildings, including at least one primary school.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto addressed the nation, outlining rescue efforts in the country.

Earthquakes of magnitude 7 or above are regarded as major and are capable of causing widespread heavy damage. Another 11 aftershocks were registered after the initial quake at around lunchtime on Tuesday, the most powerful of which measured 4.9, according to the USGS.

Nobel Winner Garcia Marquez, Master Of Magical Realism, Dies At 87

File photo of Garcia Marquez standing outside his house on his 87th birthday in Mexico CityGabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian author whose beguiling stories of love and longing brought Latin America to life for millions of readers and put magical realism on the literary map, died on Thursday.

A prolific writer who started out as a newspaper reporter, Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece was “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” a dream-like, dynastic epic that helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Garcia Marquez, aged 87, died at his home in Mexico City, where he had returned from hospital last week after a bout of pneumonia.

Known affectionately to friends and fans as “Gabo,” Garcia Marquez was Latin America’s best-known and most beloved author and his books have sold in the tens of millions.

Although he produced stories, essays and several short novels such as “Leaf Storm” and “No One Writes to the Colonel” early in his career, he struggled for years to find his voice as a novelist.

He then found it in dramatic fashion with “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” an instant success on publication in 1967. Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dubbed it “Latin America’s Don Quixote” and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda also compared it to Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th century tour de force.

Garcia Marquez’s novel tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family in the fictional village of Macondo, based on the languid town of Aracataca close to Colombia’s Caribbean coast where he was born on March 6, 1927, and raised by his maternal grandparents.

In it, Garcia Marquez combines miraculous and supernatural events with the details of everyday life and the political realities of Latin America. The characters are visited by ghosts, a plague of insomnia envelops Macondo, swarms of yellow butterflies mark the arrival of a woman’s lover, a child is born with a pig’s tail and a priest levitates above the ground.

At times comical and bawdy, and at others tragic, it sold over 30 million copies, was published in dozens of languages and helped fuel a boom in Latin American fiction.

A stocky man with a quick smile, thick mustache and curly hair, Garcia Marquez said he found inspiration for the novel by drawing on childhood memories of his grandmother’s stories – laced with folklore and superstition but delivered with the straightest of faces.

“She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness,” he said in a 1981 interview. “I discovered that what I had to do was believe in them myself, and write them with the same expression with which my grandmother told them: with a brick face.”

Although “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was his most popular creation, other classics from Garcia Marquez included “Autumn of the Patriarch”, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”.

Tributes poured in following his death.

“The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers – and one of my favorites from the time I was young,” said U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Your life, dear Gabo, will be remembered by all of us as a unique and singular gift, and as the most original story of all,” Colombian pop star Shakira wrote on her website alongside a photograph of her hugging Garcia Marquez.

In Aracataca, a lone trumpet played on Thursday night as residents held a candlelight vigil for the man who made the town famous.

MAGIC AND REALITY

Garcia Marquez was one of the prime exponents of magical realism, a genre he described as embodying “myth, magic and other extraordinary phenomena.”

His most prolific years coincided with a turbulent period in much of Latin America, where right-wing dictators and Marxist revolutionaries fought for power.

Chaos was often the norm, political violence ripped some countries to shreds and life verged on the surreal. Magical realism struck a chord.

“In his novels and short stories we are led into this peculiar place where the miraculous and the real converge. The extravagant flight of his own fantasy combines with traditional folk tales and facts, literary allusions and tangible – at times obtrusively graphic – descriptions approaching the matter-of-factness of reportage,” the Swedish Academy said when it awarded Garcia Marquez the Nobel Prize in 1982.

Garcia Marquez admired Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and was also influenced by esteemed Latin American writers Juan Rulfo of Mexico and Argentina’s Jorge Luis Borges.

U.S. author William Faulkner inspired Garcia Marquez to create “the atmosphere, the decadence, the heat” of Macondo, named after a banana plantation on the outskirts of Aracataca.

“This word had attracted my attention ever since the first trips I had made with my grandfather, but I discovered only as an adult that I liked its poetic resonance,” he wrote in his memoirs, “Living to Tell the Tale.”

Fans will pay their last respects to him in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City on Monday and he will be cremated in a private ceremony.

POLITICS, LITERARY FEUD

Like many of his Latin American literary contemporaries, Garcia Marquez became increasingly involved in politics and flirted with communism.

He spent time in post-revolution Cuba and developed a close friendship with communist leader Fidel Castro, to whom he sent drafts of his books.

“A man of cosmic talent with the generosity of a child, a man for tomorrow,” Castro once wrote of his friend. “His literature is authentic proof of his sensibility and the fact that he will never give up his origins, his Latin American inspiration and loyalty to the truth.”

The United States banned Garcia Marquez from visiting for years after he set up the New York branch of communist Cuba’s official news agency and was accused of funding leftist guerrillas at home.

He once condemned the U.S. war on drugs as “nothing more than an instrument of intervention in Latin America” but he became friends with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

“He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical. I was honored to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years,” Clinton said on Thursday.

Despite his reputation as a left-leaning intellectual, critics say Garcia Marquez didn’t do as much as he could have done to help negotiate an end to Colombia’s long conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

Instead, he left his homeland and went to live in Mexico. The damning criticism he leveled at his homeland still rings heavily in the ears of some Colombians.

He was also a protagonist in one of literature’s most talked-about feuds with fellow Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru.

The writers, who were once friends, stopped speaking to each other after a day in 1976 when Vargas Llosa gave Garcia Marquez a black eye in a dispute – depending on who one believes – over politics or Vargas Llosa’s wife.

But Vargas Llosa paid tribute to Garcia Marquez on Thursday, calling him a “great writer” whose novels would live on.

Politics and literary spats aside, Garcia Marquez’s writing pace slowed down in the late 1990s.

A heavy smoker for most of his life, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1999, although the disease went into remission after chemotherapy treatment.

None of his latest works achieved the success of his earlier novels.

One of those, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” told the story of a 50-year love affair inspired by his parents’ courtship.

It was made into a movie starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem in 2007, but many critics were disappointed and said capturing the sensuous romance of Garcia Marquez’s novel had proved too tough a challenge.

Garcia Marquez’s most recent work of fiction, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores,” got mixed reviews when it was released in 2004. The short novel is about a 90-year-old man’s obsession with a 14-year-old virgin, a theme some readers found disturbing.

Garcia Marquez is survived by Mercedes Barcha, his wife of more than 55 years, and by two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

When he was working, Garcia Marquez would wake up before dawn every day, read a book, skim through the newspapers and then write for four hours. His wife would put a yellow rose on his desk.

His last public appearance was on his 87th birthday in March when he came out from his Mexico City home to smile and wave at well-wishers, a yellow rose in the lapel of his gray suit.