Search

 

Cablegate: Mothers Against Paco: Argentine Nominee for International

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2065/01 2921503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191503Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9513
INFO RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6845
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6513
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6635
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0849
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1661

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002065

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PAULA DOBRIANSKY, G/IWI
DEPT FOR TOM SHANNON AND CRAIG KELLY, WHA/BSC AND WHA/PPC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN SNAR KCRM PHUM ASEC AR
SUBJECT: MOTHERS AGAINST PACO: ARGENTINE NOMINEE FOR INTERNATIONAL
WOMEN OF COURAGE

REF: STATE 126072

1. (U) Summary. Below is Post's nomination for the 2008
International Woman of Courage Award. In Argentina, women have led
a number of social and political causes, such as struggles against
trafficking in persons, human rights abuses, poverty, and drug
abuse. AmEmb Buenos Aires' nomination recognizes a group of mothers
known as the "Mothers Against Paco," who have risked their lives
confronting drug traffickers operating in shantytowns and talking to
drug addicts about the dangers of using the highly addictive,
destructive cocaine derivative known as "paco." Their efforts have
brought national public and official attention to Argentina's
domestic drug problem with little more than cell phones and the
collective will to fight the drug traffickers that prey on their
children. End Summary.

2. (U) Full legal name of nominee: Mara Rosa Gonzalez

Job title/association: President, "Mujeres por la Vida" (Women for
Life) also known as "Madres del Paco" (Mothers Against Paco)

Date of birth: July 21, 1963

Country of birth: Argentina

Citizenship: Argentine

Address: Eva Persn 6378, Manzana 3, Casa 39, Buenos Aires,
Argentina

Telephone: (011) 15-5492-2833

E-mail: mariarosacontraelpaco@yahoo.com

Passport number: No passport

3. (U) At 19, Maria Rosa Gonzalez's son, Jeremias, became an
addict to "paco", a highly addictive, life-threatening chemical
byproduct of cocaine. Like many paco users, he would rob from his
own family in order to support his drug habit. Ms. Gonzalez's older
son, Jose, also became addicted to the drug. Because the drug is
smoked rather than sniffed, the physiological impacts are addictive
and usually cause lasting physical damage. The Buenos Aires
provincial government says that intense paco consumption can cause
"cerebral death" in as little as six months. Formerly considered
lab trash, paco originally sold for just one peso per dose, about 30
cents (USD), and spread rapidly through Argentina's impoverished
neighborhoods after the country's 2001 financial collapse. The
local press estimates that paco consumption in the city of Buenos
Aires has increased by 300-500% since 2005.

4. (U) Paco use in Argentina is very similar to the crack epidemic
in the United States, with the same collateral damage to users and
their families. Considered a "poor man's drug", paco only delivers
a two-minute high, and users look to repeat the experience
immediately. The local press reports that users will often do
50-200 hits a day. The drug is killing and maiming poor Argentine
youth in epic proportions, with the local press estimating that one
person a day dies from paco-related causes, such as suicide or
murder. The Mothers Against Paco have seen children in their
neighborhoods as young as nine fall victim to the addiction. A
recent study shows that paco is increasingly making its way out of
the shanty towns into more middle-class areas.

5. (U) In an effort to save her son, Gonzalez courageously staged
a street protest in 2005 and blocked a major road to highlight
attention to the problem. Her objective was two-fold: to obtain
from the government proper treatment to save her son from paco
addiction, and to bring attention to the fact that drug trafficking
took place in her neighborhood. As a result of the protest, the
Argentine drug agency responsible for drug prevention and the fight
against drug trafficking, SEDRONAR, agreed to place her son in
long-term drug rehabilitation. He has since recovered, but suffers
from non-reversible side effects from paco usage. Gonzalez did not
stop there. Unable to watch so many children waste away as a result
of the drug, Gonzalez decided in 2006 to work with other mothers
from the shantytown of Ciudad Oculta, or "the Hidden City", to form
the group "Women for Life" (Mujeres por la Vida). The group is made
up of more than 150 women and is also known colloquially as the
"Mothers Against Paco" (Madres del Paco). The Mothers began meeting
once a week to share their experiences and devise strategies to
prompt the government to step up its efforts to fight illegal drug
trafficking.

6. (U) Although the Mothers Against Paco are made up of women of

humble origin, they are indeed women of courage, as they take to
mean streets at night to talk to addicts about the dangers of using
the drug. This is an act of profound courage. They and their
families live in marginal areas with virtually no government
presence, where police fear, or do not bother, to patrol. They have
put their lives at risk by denouncing known drug traffickers who
have preyed on their children. Thanks to their efforts, in February
2007, drug lord Isidro Ramirez was charged with drug trafficking and
given eight years in prison for selling drugs to minors as well as
possession of illegal weapons. The Mothers hope their fight will
eventually help break the cycle of fear and silence surrounding the
illicit drug trade so that others will begin to denounce dealers and
users.

7. (U) The Mothers, furthermore, have pressed the government to
revamp hospital and drug treatment centers, as they are currently
ill-equipped to rehabilitate paco addicts. According to Gonzalez,
these centers receive a limited amount of government funds based
strictly on admission rather than the number of days a patient stays
at the center. As a result, the centers have no incentive to keep
the patients longer than a day. Experts state that treating and
reversing paco addiction requires long-term hospitalization and
psychiatric rehabilitation. Once the Mothers have identified a paco
user in need of drug rehabilitation, Gonzalez has successfully
lobbied SEDRONAR to ensure that public hospitals admit the paco
users immediately, so that they do not lose what might be the one
chance to save these addicts. In May, the Mothers marched in front
of the Casa Rosada and presented a petition to Argentine President
Nestor Kirchner calling on the government to open drug
rehabilitation centers that specialize in the recovery of paco
addicts.

8. (U) Ms. Gonzalez recounts tragic experiences with young addicts
on the verge of suicide, some of whom she has been able to save and
others not. The Mothers are Argentina's leading experts on the
impact of paco on addicts, their families, and society. They have
launched and continue to manage targeted programs for prevention and
healing with no resources at hand, save for powerful reserves of
maternal affection, intuition, and intelligence. As the need for
their services grows rapidly, they are responding as quickly as
their capabilities permit.

9. (U) The Mothers Against Paco have brought national public and
official attention to Argentina's domestic drug problem with little
more than cell phones and the collective will to fight the drug
traffickers that prey on their children. Argentina has long been
considered a transit country for drugs destined primarily for the
European market. As such, Argentine society has tended to view drug
trafficking as a European or U.S. problem. The Mothers Against Paco
have helped to raise awareness in civil society that Argentina is
now a destination country with ever-increasing domestic consumption
and accompanying social ills. Recognizing their efforts will
elevate the profile of the Mothers Against Paco's cause, and may
enhance prospects for strengthened counternarcotics cooperation from
the Argentine government.

10. (U) Buenos Aires emboffs for women's issues are Heidi Gomez,
gomezhn@state.gov and Mara Tekach, tekachmm@state.gov.

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC