Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

Venezuela: Diosdado and drugs – whose powerplay?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

José De Córdoba and Juan Forero report at the WSJ:
Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine HubU.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering. Diosdado is not alone:

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.

Diosdado’s reaction?

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),

Daniel sees Diosdado as Hugo Chávez’s creation,

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.

Caracas Chronicle’s Juan Cristóbal Nagel believes

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,

Clubbing with Godgiven

Miguel Octavio ponders, Is Maduro so strong that he can get rid of the most powerful former military in Government just like that?

Amid all this speculation, the only thing you can rely on is that, no matter the outcome, the U.S. will continue to be portrayed as the root of all evil.

Honduras: “It’s over for the little guy”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Back in the days of The Sopranos, “It’s over for the little guy”. Now there’s real muscle doing the protection rackets.

Honduran gangs choke small businesses with ‘war tax’

“Nearly all the merchants have left. They decided to leave before they got killed or had to pay the ‘war tax,'” said Sheila, methodically slicing bananas and tossing them into boiling oil.

The “tax,” in her case, is $20 a month, which she pays the gangsters so they will let her stay in business.
. . .
The maras now have some 100,000 members in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

A MORE PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS HONDURAS? Not quite in the works yet (emphasis added):

President Orlando Hernández’s speech promoted his plan for domestic development. While detailing the new initiatives for the prosperity of his people, the president seemed to lack equal detail when addressing questions of what Honduras can do to tackle the global illegal drug issues in which it is entangled. Only when his administration takes on the problems that Honduras is facing on a transnational level will President Orlando Hernández be able to meet the standards necessary to join the Alliance for Prosperity, and make use of the admittedly questionable advantages it offers.

Mexico: Jalisco’s new generation of crime

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

The WSJ reports on the latest cartel, Jalisco Nueva Generación:
Rise of Drug Cartel Brings Wave of Mexican ViolenceArmy hunts for three missing soldiers in Jalisco since helicopter was shot down on Friday

“A new and military powerful cartel is appearing, and opening up a new front in the war against drugs in Guadalajara and Jalisco,” said Raul Benitez, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The flare-up of violence in Guadalajara, a city of 1.5 million people in a metropolitan area of 4.5 million, and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta is the latest setback for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. The government has been determined to show that Mexico is a modern, emerging economy, but its inability to control areas where criminal gangs continue to exert control have frustrated these efforts.

“Guadalajara is not a little town in the middle of nowhere, and this shows the cartel has the logistics and power to paralyze a city,” said Jorge Chabat, a security analyst at the CIDE think tank in Mexico City.
. . .
The areas the Jalisco cartel controls sit astride important transport and production centers for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

The Jalisco Nueva Generación, who are allies of the Sinaloa cartel, started in 2010 for the purpose of neutralizing the Zetas, according to this report from El Comercio.

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Inside Fidel Castro’s double life as a drug kingpin

For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”

Read the article here.

Buy the book here.

The Summit of the Americas circus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 13th, 2015


This time the circus was in Panama, where OBAMA-CASTRO MEETING OVERSHADOWS ANTI-US LINE AT SUMMIT

ARGENTINA
CFK: ‘It’s ridiculous to consider Venezuela, Argentina a threat’

Argentine court orders arrest of Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber will be arrested if he ever sets foot in Argentina, following an alleged fracas outside a Buenos Aires nightclub in 2013

BRAZIL
Brazil Ignites Union Fury with Outsourcing Bill
State Employees Warn Hiring-Policy Changes Threaten Labor Rights

Protesters Return to Brazilian Streets
Antigovernment protesters returned to the streets of several Brazilian cities Sunday to express dissatisfaction with President Dilma Rousseff and her ruling Workers’ Party.

The end of the BRICs

CHILE
Chile Fights Off Creeping Crisis as Graft Accusations Escalate.

Bachelet: I Will Not Resign, Government Is Not Covering Up Scandals. Bachelet didn’t attend the VII Summit.

Chile prisoners ‘extorted Spaniards’
Spanish police break up an extortion ring run by Chilean jail inmates who allegedly cold-called Spanish civilians demanding kidnap ransoms.

COLOMBIA
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
Could Colombia play peacemaker between U.S. and Venezuela?

Colombia Navy Finds 21 Cuban Migrants on Border with Panama

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica finishes work to close artificial canal built by Nicaragua in disputed territory

CUBA
Menendez Unloads on ‘Alarming’ Reports of Pressure from White House to Rush Removal of Cuba from Terror List

The President meets the General: Dictatorship legitimized and misbehaviour whitewashed

Obama Mau-Maued By Tinpots At Latin Summit After Conceding So Much To Cuba

HAITI
Haiti’s Hillary Headache: Clinton to announce Presidency Bid Sunday

IMMIGRATION
TWO GOOD REASONS TO CURB IMMIGRATION

JAMAICA
Watch Barack Obama and Usain Bolt do sprinter’s trademark lightning pose on presidential visit to Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America Will Tackle Corruption Later

MEXICO
N Korea urges Mexico to free detained ship

Meet Mexico’s fastest growing drug cartel. It even builds its own rifles

PANAMA
Pro-Castro Panamanian groups threaten Cuban activists

Dos Amigos: President Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands in Panama
I guess we should be glad he didn’t bow.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay peasants resist soybean agribusiness activities

PERU
6.5 Million Ounces of Gold LOST in Peru!

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago
Island police and mayors direct heroin addicts to Chicago and other cities with promises of housing and treatment
.

URUGUAY
UN to help Guantanamo refugees with houses in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Panama OAS summit for dummies

Sign or Else: Venezuelans Coerced into Anti-Obama Petition

PBS NewsHour Laments Smell of ‘Imperialist Meddling’ and ‘Bullying’ Venezuela — by Obama?

Meeting under trees in the dark of night, and other stories from Venezuela’s struggling guerilla resistance

The week’s posts and podcast:
Today’s hashtag

Ecuador: Correa tweets!

Breaking: Dissidents attacked again in Panama by Cuban gov operatives

Cuba, the “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society” country

Biden: Like taking a binky from a baby

Colombia: Hillary changed her mind on FTA over $50 million, oops, $130 million

Panama: Cuban agents assault dissidents

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Venezuela: Opposition leaders’ wives to attend the Summit of the Americas

Jamaica: Vendors angry about Obama visit

Nicaragua’s steps to dictatorship

Panama: Rosa María Payá detained

Podcast: On the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama



Today’s Colombian hookers update

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember the grope and change story of the Secret Service agents partying with hookers in Colombia?

Well, there were also 10 DEA guys partying in Colombia, too, only for a longer time.

The hookers were Hired By the Drug Cartels.

The cartels sent the hookers; Who would have thunk it?

Let’s call Capt. Louis,

But wait! There’s more,

In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report states. Ten DEA agents later admitted attending the parties, and some of the agents received suspensions of two to 10 days.
. . .
“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the IG report says.

——————-

In other party news, Guatemalan congressmen asked for “whisky and Colombian girls” in exchange for approval of a clean-up project for Lake Amatitlán.

No word from Guatemalan hookers on the subject, but at least they prefer whisky to whiskey.

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember those direct Tehran-Caracas flights I posted about in 2008? The ones La Stampa reported about? (click on image to enlarge)

Well, they carried (carry?) terrorists, drugs, and money:
AEROTERROR: A regular flight from Caracas to Tehran carried more drugs and money than people

High-level Venezuelan defectors then started talking to Veja journalist Leonardo Coutinho. They told Veja that Aeroterror came to be a biweekly flight that carried drugs and cash to finance Iran’s activities in South America, and that it would stop in Damascus to pick up fake passports and other documents to ensure that Iran’s agents could move freely once they arrived in Caracas.

Aeroterror. Let that sink in for a moment.

Reports indicate that Chavez and Ahmadinejad planned Aeroterror at a meeting Caracas back in 2007, during which Ahmadinejad also asked Chavez to help him get Argentina to help Iran with its nuclear program. Since then, Iran has only strengthened its ties to South America.

Alberto Nisman was on the trail early on,

. . . Nisman published a report on the same subjects that he took to Interpol in 2007 — Iranian officials threatened to arrest Nisman after it was presented.

Veja’s article, Venezuela vendia passagens fantasmas para o “aeroterror”O voo que fez a rota Caracas-Damasco-Teerã entre 2007 e 2010 era deficitário, mas passageiros comuns nunca conseguiam fazer reserva em um de seus assentos, pois o avião destinava-se a transportar drogas, terroristas e dinheiro

According to Chavez exiles in the United States, the flights were used to carry dozens of Islamic extremists who had to travel to the West, from Iran and Syria, unnoticed.

It is unclear if the flights are still continuing.

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coca seized on their way to Lebanon

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Last week I posted on Argentina as the #3 drug shipping link.

Today, Bolivian media report that 27 tons of ground coca leaves disguised as mate were seized by authorities.

The final destination? Lebanon.

Apparently the ground coke was going to be shipped from a Chilean – not Argentinian – port.

The only use for ground coca leaves is cocaine production.

A Bolivian government minister stated that this is the first time authorities seize ground coca leaves meant to be processed into cocaine outside the country. He estimated that the $350,000 ground coke would have a street value of over $90million.

Considering the political landscape in the Middle East, would it be unreasonable to assume Hezbollah is involved?

[Post edited for clarity]

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Alejandro Rebossio of Spain’s El País reports that Pope Francis’s comment on “Mexicanization” was prompted by UN data showing Argentina as the country with the third-largest number of seized cocaine shipments, after Brazil and Colombia.

The cocaine route starts in Colombia and Peru, makes a layover in Bolivia, and is processed in Argentina, where some of it is consumed, while most is exported to Europe.

Gustavo Vera also mentioned, in his emails to Pope Francis, that Argentina has the highest per-capita cocaine consumption in Latin America.

You can read Rebossio’s article here (in Spanish).

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, is in New York and talking:
Bodyguard Outs Diosdado Cabello as Drug Cartel Chief
Chavismo’s Number Two Security Official in New York to Testify with DEA

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Interamerican Security Watch translated a report from Spain’s ABC (emphasis added),

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.
. . .
In his revelations, Salazar also implicates the governor of Aragua state, Tarek el Aissami, who also has links with Islamic networks, and José David Cabello, brother of the National Assembly president, who for several years served as director of SENIAT [tax agency] and minister of industry. José David Cabello is allegedly responsible for the finances of the Cartel of the Suns. Salazar mentions that [the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela] PDVSA is a money-laundering machine (sic). PDVSA’s former president from 2004 to 2014, Rafael Ramirez, was appointed in December as Venezuela’s ambassador before the U.N. Security Council.
. . .
Regarding the links with Havana, Salazar mentioned the regular use of PDVSA aircraft to transport drugs. A son of Chávez’s and a son of former Cuban ambassador in Caracas, Germán Sánchez Otero, organized these shipments. Other Cuban officials are mentioned as part of the scheme. The final destination of these shipments was the United States.

Caracas Chronicles has more on The Bodyguard.

In Latin America, drugs, terrorism and crime are threads of one fabric.

And paying for the Bolivarian Revolution is not cheap.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Stones Cry Out. Thank you!
Linked to by Pseudo-Polymath. Thank you!