This week the FARC attacked Colombia’s oil infrastructure, the major way the Colombian economy is not held hostage by the narco-terrorist group. The worst attack was an explosion at a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province.
A FARC attack on an oil pipeline in the southwest of Colombia has caused the country’s biggest environmental disaster in the past decade, said the country’s environment Minister on Thursday.
Alleged FARC rebels blew up a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province on Monday, causing the spilling of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into nearby rivers, streams and mangroves.
. . .
Not only does the oil threaten the local ecosystem, it has cut off the water supply of the approximately 160,000 inhabitants of the town of Tumaco who depend on the polluted waters for their drinking water.
The FARC’s motive is thought to be a show of strength to force the government to agree to a bilateral cease-fire, something the Santos government has refused to do until a overall peace agreement has been signed, said Bruce Bagley, a Colombia specialist at the University of Miami.
. . .
Adam Isacson, a Colombia researcher at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank in Washington, said that despite the upsurge in violence, the odds are good that the peace talks will continue, noting that slow but incremental progress has been made. But the future hinges on whether the attacks continue.
The talks have stalled over the issue of
whether FARC commanders will stand trial and serve prison time for crimes against humanity, a prospect the rebels reject.
To an outsider like myself, the latest actions from the FARC make the answer to that crystal-clear.
Spanish police arrest man who allegedly sent liquid heroin from Colombia to the United States by implanting it in puppies
More headlines from Venezuela:
Sources tell me Leopoldo Lopez may suspend his hunger strike. He won’t be long of this world if he persists in starving himself. UPDATE: Indeed, he ended his hunger strike.
There are multiple problems with that. First off, UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations – was founded by Chávez and is widely seen as pliant to the Venezuelan regime. What’s more, “accompaniment” is not “monitoring”.
Venezuela’s government is a complex web of interlocking political relationships built during chavista rule. Several groups and individuals merit closer observation to determine how Venezuela’s immediate future will develop. The first person to consider is Cabello. As National Assembly speaker, he stands to lose immunity if the opposition sweeps the December elections — a possibility that is growing more likely as a majority of opinion polls show the ruling party trailing the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable. Cabello faces an investigation for cocaine trafficking through Venezuela to the United States — a crime entailing potential arrest and extradition if Cabello loses his immunity. Consequently, Cabello has joined Maduro in reaching out to the United States on the modest goal of appointing ambassadors, and Cabello likely will remain involved in this outreach to reduce his personal risk. Initially, Cabello was publicly absent from the negotiations. But in the face of growing political challenges from Maduro, Cabello seems to have inserted himself in the negotiations for the long run.
It’s not clear that a leadership change in Caracas will negate the goodwill China has built up, since Maduro might be replaced by a colleague from the USP. The political opposition might come into power at some point, but the next presidential elections are far off, and it seems hardly likely that Maduro will survive that long. Of course, few would want the thankless task of attempting to clean up the mess that is Venezuela, which might be the only thing preventing a palace coup.
However, even if Maduro is replaced by someone in his party who regards China favorably, there will almost certainly be a demand for debt renegotiation, simply because the Venezuelans can’t afford to repay what they owe.
Authorities in Tamaulipas state take down surveillance cameras installed by secret gang (emphasis added)
Recently, police announced that they had taken down 39 hidden surveillance cameras installed by traffickers at key points around the city to monitor movements by law enforcement authorities, rival gangs and ordinary citizens.
. . . One local cartel – whose name has not been made public – has acknowledged that it set up 38 other cameras to closely follow movements made by the army, navy, police and prosecutors, according to an official statement.
Since the cartel itself has acknowledged it, why haven’t the authorities named it? Most likely, it would be either the Zetas or the Gulf cartel,
The region’s two most powerful drug organizations, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, have long battled for control of Tamaulipas’s 17 border crossings to ship narcotics to the north.
Not that these 39 cameras were the first – back in May authorities took down 30 others.
The new development in a case that has roiled Argentina since Mr. Nisman’s death in January is being investigated by Viviana Fein, the prosecutor who is trying to determine if the 51-year-old killed himself or was the victim of foul play. Mr. Nisman’s Samsung laptop logged the input of up to three flash drives just after 8 p.m., Ms. Fein told Argentine media on Monday, some hours after a .22-caliber Bersa was held to his head and discharged.
Investigators are looking into whether the computer—which contained data from his investigation of Iran’s suspected role in a 1994 terror bombing in Argentina—was accessed locally or remotely and whether its time registry could have been changed.
A new book by Mr. Nisman’s cousin, Andrea Garfunkel, launched fresh accusations that the late prosecutor was killed because of his investigation into the 1994 bombing. Ms. Garfunkel highlights irregularities regarding the findings at Mr. Nisman’s home. She notes the unused pajamas found near his bed, which she says suggests he may have died the night before investigators found him.
The book, In memoriam, is available for Kindle from Amazon in Spanish.
Argentinian journalist Jorge Lanata played in his TV show the following video:
In it, State Security chief Sergio Berni, while at the apartment of the presumably very dead Alberto Nisman, went to prosecutor Viviana Fein who was recording the findings at the scene, and asked her whether they should first verify the state of the person in the bathroom, “in case he was in agony.”
Nisman’s own mother had already been at the scene, and he was clearly dead.
The investigation had been botched up from the start. Lanata has more video (which apparently had been edited by the authorities) showing how evidence was handled by numerous people who were not wearing rubber gloves, the murder weapon was wiped to show its registration number, Fein stepped in the blood on the bathroom floor, and on and on.
One would compare them to the Keystone Kops, but there’s no need to insult the Kops.
Incompetence, yes; willful or not?
Mr. Scotti was detained in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife at about 7 a.m. local time. He arrived in Brazil in 1986 using false identification documents, Brazilian and Italian police said Tuesday at a news conference in Brasília.
He married a local woman, with whom he has two children, and set up businesses in the area, including a real-estate brokerage and a fireworks factory, police said.
He had escaped from a hospital room following a shootout with Italian police in 1984.
Thirty-seven MS-13 gang members have been indicted in Charlotte, North Carolina on numerous offenses including murder and attempted murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina announced Wednesday.
Wednesday morning, a law enforcement dragnet rounded up 16 of the alleged gang members. While five remain “at large” the remaining 16 are in state custody.
. . .
Gang activity in Charlotte made national headlines in recent weeks as the Obama administration admitted it improperly granted an illegal immigrant with known gang-ties executive amnesty.
The head of the human rights division at Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office has resigned. Prior to that, Mexico’s Attorney General resigned under pressure over the investigation of the kidnappings and murders of 43 students last year in Iguala:
In addition to [Interior Minister Tarek] Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.
In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year.
Jaime Bayly interviewed one, Miguel Henrique Otero, editor and director of El Nacional daily, last night (video in Spanish),
Because let us all be clear about one thing: this has happened because Hugo Chavez, the hero of the left, has allowed for it to happen, has encouraged it to happen. Diosdado did not come out of thin air. That maybe he became too strong for Chavez to control is another story, but Diosdado Cabello is a Chavez creation, just one of the cogs in the drug machinery that Chavez set up to help the FARC against Uribe. And the cogs are many, including noteworthy high ranking pieces like current Aragua state governor.
Daniel expects that
Diosdado Cabello will take down with him as many as he needs to take down. He will take the country down with him if he needs to.
the unraveling of the Suns Cartel has tremendous implications for the power balance within chavismo.
Nagel calculates it’s a US$27 billion/year enterprise, which was “was anything but clandestine, and anything but competent,” and
Maduro has an obvious choice: either tie his sinking presidency to the fate of clumsy, leaky, “stocky and bull-necked” (loved that) drug smugglers, or turn Diosdado and crew over and save face. And just what do you think the Cubans will suggest he do? Maduro’s handlers, after all, are the folks who murdered Arnaldo Ochoa.
Of course, this is all speculative, but if you think Maduro isn’t mulling what to do at this point, then I think you’re being naive.
Nagel has the perfect photo and caption in his post,