Archive for the ‘cocaine’ Category

Venezuela: El Pollo as big fish

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Mary O’Grady on today’s WSJ:
A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away
The Netherlands refuses to extradite FARC ally Hugo Carvajal Barrios to the U.S.

While O’Grady contradicts herself on the criminals’ intent, saying, on the one hand, “America’s voracious appetite for illegal drugs has allowed violent political actors to create powerful transnational criminal organizations”, while on the other hand stating, “All of this terror is done in the name of social justice for Colombians,” the effect of current U.S. foreign policy is clear: The bottom line? (emphasis added)

Yet it’s not surprising that the Netherlands decided it would be less costly to be on the good side of the bad guys than to be on the bad side of the good guys. After six years of the Obama global retreat, any leader would be crazy to expect the U.S. to go to the mat for an ally, even one that stuck its neck out for Uncle Sam. So when Venezuela threatened military and economic retribution at the Netherlands Antilles if Carvajal was extradited, the Dutch foreign affairs minister relented.

Read the whole thing here.

Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal, on the released general, is up. Please read it and hit the tip jar!

El Pollo and Venezuela’s game of chicken: Venezuela exerted military pressure on Aruba

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In today’s WSJ, Aruba: Venezuela Pressured It Militarily
The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, officials said.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:

Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?

Then there’s the oil,

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

To put that number of jobs in perspective, Aruba’s total population is 103,009.

In the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction was, “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.” At least they didn’t #hashtag it.

Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “”el Pollo” is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general, but with a sideline,

Mr. Carvajal’s role as one of the Chávez government’s key liaisons to guerrillas from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged after computers belonging to a slain guerrilla leader were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008.

Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.

In addition to good’ol military thuggery, Miguel Octavio asserts that the Netherlands caved in (emphasis added):

Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.

One of my sources also mentions that team Obama had about 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to; the Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted him last year. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.

We’re in the best of hands.

PS,
While the Dutch allow Carvajal diplomatic immunity, the Egyptians search Secretary of State John Kerry, which was no biggie, but he fumes over Israel’s criticism.

Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The other pollos.

Three chavistas indicted for conspiring with Colombian FARC drug traffickers to export cocaine to the U.S.:

  • Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “”el Pollo,” a former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence, detained in Aruba while awaiting confirmation as Nicolás Maduro’s consul-general to Aruba,
  • former Venezuelan judge, Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, arrested last week in Miami,
  • and the former head of Interpol in Venezuela, Rodolfo McTurk, whereabouts were unknown.

Daniel Duquenal speculates,

If indeed Carvajal is sent to the US, beyond diplomatic implications that this will entail, the local consequences will be high. There are possibly dozens and dozens of chavista high officials with dossiers under investigation and the reality for them has suddenly changed. Never mind that if Carvajal is indeed sent to the US, he may add a lot to these dossiers.

In addition to providing weapons to the FARC, Carvajal had been allegedly working with Iranian intelligence, and is under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate, and the Jewish center in Caracas.

WSJ:

In the Miami indictment unsealed Thursday, Mr. Carvajal is accused of taking bribes from late Colombian kingpin Wilber Varela, who was killed in 2008, and in return allowing Mr. Varela to export cocaine to the U.S. from Venezuela and avoid arrest by Venezuelan authorities.

Carvajal directly dealt with one-time of the world’s top three drug kingpins, Walid Makled, according to Makled himself,

“For example, I used to give a weekly fee of 200 million bolívares (about $50,000 at the time), and 100 million was for General Hugo Carvajal,” Mr. Makled said.

Makled went on trial in Venezuela since the Obama administration dragged its feet; I do not know the outcome of the trial.

Carvajal is now seeking diplomatic immunity in Aruba.

Bolivia reduces coca production

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

along with Peru and Colombia:

Bolivia’s Coca Production at Lowest Since 2002, UN Says
Peru, Colombia Have Also Had Decreases in Recent Years in Fight Against Cocaine Trafficking

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Monday that it “acknowledges Bolivia’s progress in reducing its coca crop.” But the statement said Bolivia should tighten controls over the coca leaf trade “to stem diversion to cocaine processing” while enhancing efforts to prosecute drug traffickers.

Those, like Mary O’Grady who believe the whole fault for the drug trade falls on the “U.S.’s insatiable appetite for drugs” ought to consider this,

UNODC reported last year that consumption of cocaine in the U.S. has steadily gone down in recent years while rising in South America.

Peru is way ahead of Bolivia,

Peruvian President Ollanta Huma’s government has relied on crews of workers paid to rip up coca plants. In its main coca-growing area—known as the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers—the Agriculture Ministry is in charge of a new program that calls on coca farmers to switch to legal crops with the government’s assistance.

Colombia had 118,611 acres planted with coca leaf in 2012, down 25% from 2011, the last year for which data is available, the UNODC says.

Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela UPDATED

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

The Economist has a report on Drugs trafficking in the Caribbean
Full circle
An old route regains popularity with drugs gangs

The final destination is likely to be North America or Europe, sometimes via West Africa. Puerto Rico is a way-station, physically in the Caribbean but within United States’ customs barriers. The French territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana do the same for Europe

Clink on the map for the full article:

UPDATE:
One thing that has been bothering me since I posted this is how the map shows no information on Cuba. Are we to believe Cuba is not involved in drug trafficking?

Colombia: Don’t fire the mayor yet! And how about the GPS?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

says a judge, after much to-do over garbage mishandling by a former guerrilla who’s mayor of Bogota:
Mayor’s Firing Should be Postponed: Colombia Chief Prosecutor:
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Ordered Gustavo Petro’s Removal

Colombia’s chief prosecutor is urging President Juan Manuel Santos to postpone a controversial decision by the inspector general to fire Bogotá’s left-leaning mayor over alleged mismanagement of trash collection, saying the decision’s better left for courts or voters.

And here’s the thing,

The fate of the mayor of the city of eight million is being closely watched in Havana, Cuba, where Colombia’s government is engaged in 13-month-old peace talks with the country’s main Marxist rebel group FARC. A key outcome of any peace deal would likely include allowing leftist rebels who lay down their weapons to run for political offices, including that of mayor.

In other Colombian news, front-page, WaPo, finally, a bit of good news:

U.S. aid helps Colombia kill rebels

Covert action in Colombia
U.S. intelligence, GPS bomb kits help Latin American nation cripple rebel forces

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.

The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.

That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.

Meanwhile, After Killing 8, Colombian Guerrillas go on Christmas Truce

Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Spain’s ABC: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Information published by ABC regarding negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s staff—when he was foreign minister—in an FMLN drug trafficking operation in El Salvador, has corroborated suspicions that existed in Venezuelan political and diplomatic circles.

“This news confirms what many already knew about the significant and growing presence of drug trafficking in Venezuela and its important relations with the top echelon in the government and the Armed Forces,” former Venezuelan ambassador to Sweden and Guyana, Sadio Garavini commented. “Venezuela has become a center of command and control of international drug trafficking since the expulsion of the DEA (U.S. anti-drug agency) of the country and the indefinite suspension of the effective partnership with former United States cooperation in the fight against drugs.”

This should come as no surprise to Fausta’s Blog readers.

Additionally, the links extend to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and Hezbollah:

leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador are linked to the Colombian guerrillas, while stressing the massive financial backing from Venezuela to the FMLN, which has been done to take complete control of the country.

“The FMLN and Alba Petroleos of El Salvador – the entity that funnels Venezuelan aid – has taken over the country in ways the United Fruit Company would have never imagined: from airlines to mass purchases of land in the capital, coffee crops above price, pharmacies, banks, and media outlets. Montsant also points to reports and studies by the University of Salamanca, demonstrating the influence of Venezuelan oil through Alba Petróleos on Salvadorans leaders, enabling a patronage policy that seeks votes in the popular sectors.

The ABC article is titled Diplomáticos confirman la conexión de Venezuela con el narcotráfico
Destacan que la tradicional alianza del chavismo con la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC ha sido un factor esencial en ese comercio ilegal

(Diplomats confirm Venezuela’s links to drug trafficking
They assert that chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla is an essential factor of the illegal trade.)

Last week, ABC had reported that Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s mediated an FMLN deal with the FARC back when he was vice-president (link in Spanish) allowing drug flights landing in the state of Apure, Venezuela.

UPDATE:
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!


Venezuela burns down Mexican plane

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Getting rid of the evidence?

Here’s what happened: On Monday a private jet with a Mexican registration number was forced to land in Venezuela. Its passengers apparently fled. The Venezuelan military burned down the plane.

Now Nicolas Maduro says the plane was carrying cocaine.

This intruder was immobilized on air by our Air Force 7 MN north of Buena Vista del Meta, Apure state

Mexican plane downed in Venezuela ‘had cocaine’:

A Mexican plane forced down and destroyed in Venezuelan territory earlier in the week was full of cocaine, President Nicolas Maduro said.

Maduro said he was surprised that Mexico had asked for an explanation of the November 4 incident through diplomatic channels.

Mexican officials said Friday that the seven people aboard the plane — two crew members and five passengers — flew from the central Mexican state of Queretaro under false identities.

For what it’s worth,

Apure state is well known as a place where airplanes take off packed with Colombian cocaine bound for points north, typically Central America. From there, the drug is typically moved by Mexican cartels north to the United States.

Questions:

Who had been in the plane? What had it been doing in Venezuela? Was it involved in the drug trade? Why had it gone up in flames? And where was the crew?

And, if the plane was “full of cocaine,” as Maduro said, what happened to the cocaine?

Bolivia: What the “Bolivarian revolution” means, in practice

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Bolivia’s Descent Into Rogue State Status
The country is a hub for organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists.

The government is an advocate for coca growers. The Iranian presence is increasing. And reports from the ground suggest that African extremists are joining the fray.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is also the elected president of the coca producers’ confederation, and Vice President Alvaro García Linera, formerly of the Maoist Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, began building their repressive narco-state when they took office in 2006.

Step one was creating a culture of fear. Scores of intellectuals, technocrats and former government officials were harassed. Many fled.

With the opposition cowed, President Morales has turned Bolivia into an international hub of organized crime and a safe haven for terrorists. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been expelled. United Nations data show that cocaine production is up in Bolivia since 2006 and unconfirmed reports say that Mexican, Russian and Colombian toughs are showing up to get a piece of the action. So are militants looking to raise cash and operate in the Western Hemisphere.

The Tehran connection is no secret. Iran is a nonvoting member of the “Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas” ( ALBA ). Its voting members are Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Read the whole thing.