Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

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!


Mexico: Border tunnels “significant and growing threat to border security”

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that tunnels along the southwest border are a growing and significant threat to security.

According to a report by the DHS OIG released December 11, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, charged with protecting the U.S. borders, lacks the technological capability to detect subterranean tunnels.

“Illicit cross-border tunnels along the southwest border are primarily used by criminals to transport illegal drugs into the United States, and they are a significant and growing threat to border security,” noted the report. “In an effort to counter this threat, CBP has modified its operations through patrols, intelligence gathering, and closing of illicit cross-border tunnels, but it does not yet have the technological capability to detect the tunnels routinely and accurately.”

Drugs, and what else?

Video below the fold since it starts right away,

(more…)

Today’s Louis Renault moment

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Venezuelan Embassy in Kenya allegedly involved in drug-trafficking

A witness in the case of the murder of Venezuelan Ambassador Olga Fonseca in Kenya 2012 told a court in Nairobi on Wednesday that the diplomatic mission would use the diplomatic bag for drug-trafficking purposes.

Take it away, Louis:

Argentina: #Córdoba police strike linked to prostitution

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Translation: URGENT: The citizens of #Cordoba defending their city during the police protests.

Looting, death in Argentine police strike

A police strike for higher pay — which the governor blamed on his closure of brothels that provide a money stream to corrupt officers — has prompted waves of looting and robberies in Argentina’s second largest city.

The violence in Cordoba began Tuesday night and continued Wednesday morning, with storefronts being shattered, mobs stealing merchandise, robbers attacking people in the streets and vigilantes arming themselves to protect their homes. More supermarkets and a mobile television van recording the violence were attacked this morning, even as officers and provincial authorities began negotiations to end the strike.

Hospital authorities reported one shooting death and more than 100 injuries, mostly from shattered glass.

[Gov. Jose Manuel] de la Sota also described the strike as a police response to his decision to close 140 brothels that provide income to corrupt officers. “We know that this, which is a terrible business, horrible, is linked to drug trafficking and that it would bring us problems sooner or later,” the governor said.

The new police salaries are the equivalent of about US$1,400/month at the black market rate. This is a 52% increase over their prior salary.

RT reports that the police union has agreed on the new salary,

Translation: [Breaking] #Córdoba’s governor: “There’s an agreement. The police will start chasing the looters.”


The Colombian graffiti Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

LatinAmerFollowing Justin Bieber’s acts of vandalism, Colombian and Brazilian authorities are having to deal with an outburst of graffiti. Maybe they ought to ban the little twerp from coming back, or better yet, make him clean it up with his own two hands.

ARGENTINA
Drugs in Argentina
Southward marching powder

Authorities have focused on seizing drugs, not dismantling the organisations that peddle them. “This strategy is futile,” says former under-secretary of security for Buenos Aires province, Diego Gorgal. “It doesn’t change the supply, demand, or price of drugs.” It is also poorly executed. According to the latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report produced by the US State Department, Argentine security forces seized 12 tonnes of cocaine in 2010; in the first six months of 2012 they confiscated only 3.4 tonnes. Operation Northern Shield, an initiative to improve Argentina’s border security through the installation of seven radars in the north, has flopped. Only three have been activated. Their backup? Forty-year-old aircraft.

Argentina police raid brothels
Raids on brothels in and around Buenos Aires lead to the rescue of almost 100 women forced into prostitution, Argentine police say.

Video: NSFW Pro-abortion and gay activists attack the Catholic cathedral in San Juan (h/t Gates of Vienna)

BOLIVIA
Chile will not cede territory to Bolivia: FM

BRAZIL
Fire ravages Oscar Niemeyer building
Authorities in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, fight a major blaze at a landmark building designed by modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer,
The Latin America Memorial.

World Cup 2014: aerial view of collapsed Brazil football stadium
Three people have been killed in an accident at a Sao Paulo stadium that is due to host the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup

Brazilian who auctioned off virginity wants to sell it again Catarina Migliorini claims that deal last year was never consumated [sic] and she is now looking for another buyer

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Must Balance Growth and Spending

CUBA
Reuters (Poor and Irresponsible) “Analysis” of Cuba’s Banking Woes

D.C. Jews press Obama to secure subcontractor’s release from Cuban jail Alan Gross was arrested in 2009 while on a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community to the Internet; a rally planned for Dec. 3 is meant to raise awareness for his cause.

23 UNPACU activists arrested in violent crackdown Santiago de Cuba

Arms Smuggling versus Equestrian Tourism: Which matters most?

Thanksgiving Terror From Friends of The Council on Foreign Relations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Gay U.S. ambassador faces backlash in Dominican Republic

ECUADOR
U.S. trial ends over Ecuador pollution judgment against Chevron: The case is Chevron Corp v. Steven Donziger et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-0691.

A look at the traders behind the China-Ecuador-U.S. oil triangle

HONDURAS
Elections in Honduras Advantage, the old guard

Honduras ruling party hope wins presidency on vow to tame gangs

JAMAICA
Uncovering Jamaica’s Jewish Past In the great Caribbean melting pot, one group is largely overlooked: Jewish refugees who settled centuries ago. Their descendants are unearthing graveyards to reclaim a piece of history.

Jamaican authorities seize 3,300 warheads, and ‘Ja Fighting A War’ (h/t Gates of Vienna)

MEXICO
EPN’s first year

Monthly Mexico Media Roundup

PANAMA
Update on the Chong Chon Gang: Panama Reverses: North Korean Crew Not Freed

Organized crime prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas first said only the ship’s captain, first mate and a Korean official who watched the crew would continue to be detained and face charges of arms trafficking. He appeared later in the afternoon at the base where the crew members were being held and changed his version, saying only the ship was legally free to go. He left without further comment.

North Korea agrees fine with Panama for ship’s release

PARAGUAY
Paraguay senator loses immunity after public pressure

PERU
Peru’s government Partners in crime A spy casts a shadow on the president

PUERTO RICO
Research and Markets: Puerto Rico Oil and Gas Markets Outlook to 2025

URUGUAY
Mientras dice que “no defiende la marihuana”, Mujica pide que ‘el mundo ayude a Uruguay’ en su ‘experimento’ con marihuana.

Wine Finds: Malbec from Uruguay is a restrained treat

VENEZUELA
Maduro’s government uses ambulances for posting flyers while hospitals lack ambulance service:

Venezuela elections: Empty shelves and a skyscraper squat
Venezuelans go to the polls in local and regional elections on 8 December that are being widely seen as a referendum on the six-month presidency of Nicolas Maduro. Opponents accuse him of leading the country to economic ruin, but he insists his reforms are essential and popular.

Pero Tenemos Free Gas 

It’s [sic] means this entire thing, the whole of the macroeconomic mess, all the crazy dislocations of the last few years, the raspaíto, the impossible-to-find milk, the shoving matches for perniles, the cars that suddenly jump up in price as they roll out of the showroom, all of it (and, much worse, all of what’s to come) all of it is – to a much greater extent than almost anyone realizes – just a knock-on effect from the financial chasm left in PDVSA’s finances by the gasoline subsidy!

China + oil = deal CITIC Mining Survey Agreement With Venezuela: Another Boondoggle?

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: “21st Century socialism” = same old Communism

Venezuela less influential in LatAm, says Oppenheimer

Mexico: No more Pact

Brazil: Will the stadium meet the deadline? You betcha.

Ecuador: Oil bidders not quite chomping at the bit

Argentina: Same old, same old

Shearith Israel’s Thanksgiving

Cuba closing its consulates in the US

Mexico: Teen hit man sent back to USA

En español: Terapia intensiva

Ecuador: How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

In case you missed it, Che in 10 quotes

Honduras: What next?

At Da Tech Guy’s Blog: Colombia: The controversy started by . . . Justin Bieber?

UPDATE:
Linked to by Devil’s Excrement. Thank you!


Latin America: Mexico and the Expanding Hemispheric Crime and Terror Crises

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Jerry Brewer has the must-read article about the region: Mexico and the Expanding Hemispheric Crime and Terror Crises

He writes about how El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coastal states, and parts of the US border are affected, along with,

In 2009 it was reported that Mexican organized crime cartels were spreading their tentacles into 47 nations, including the U.S. and Colombia. The expansion was attributed to Mexico’s military crackdown. Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho claims that two of Mexico’s most notorious criminal groups, the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, had expanded their operations in Argentina and were moving into sex trafficking. “I have clear evidence of the presence of drug cartels involved in trafficking that are already operating in Argentina … in many cases building links with small impoverished communities…. Both the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel are already here. These organized criminals have begun to settle and are buying human beings,” Cacho stated.

The full spectrum of past, current and future conflict in Mexico is much more than drug trafficking. It has morphed into a transnational criminal insurgency that is fluid throughout the hemisphere. Mexico has a relatively dismal track record in implementing policing and effective security reforms and cannot do this alone.

Whereas the conundrum for the United States is that these crises also impact U.S. national security and all international partners.

Read the whole article. I had the pleasure of talking to Jerry in Silvio’s podcast last night.

Mexico: Templars, Inc.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The headline reads, Mexican armed forces take over security in key Pacific port

Mexican armed forces have taken charge of security in the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas, a major cargo hub in a part of the country struggling to contain violent drug gangs.

The story-behind-the-story is that the port of Lázaro Cárdenas in the state of Michoacán is a veritable gold mine for the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) drug gang, as they have merged legitimate businesses with their criminal activities.

Milenio.com has a report (in Spanish), explaining how.
Illegal businesses (drug trade, kidnappings, etc) and extortion to both businesses and municipalities combine with agricultural industry-related businesses for money-laundering to turn the city of Lázaro Cárdenas into the Templars’ financial center.

Related: Vigilante Groups Force Mexican Government To Promise More In Drug Fight

Mexico: The cartel-induced blackout

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

From the looks of it, now the Knights Templar are engaging in terrorism:
Mexican Cartel Retaliates Against Civilians
One State’s Residents Say Crime Group Attacked Electric Plants, Killed Protesters

The attacks in Mexico’s southern Michoacán state on Sunday morning left some 420,000 residents, about 10% of the state’s population, without electricity, authorities said. The outages also happened in Morelia city, where an international film festival attended by the directors Quentin Tarantino and Alfonso Cuarón was under way.

On Monday, as electricity mostly returned, the government didn’t specify how exactly the attacks shut down the system, only that armed men fired bullets and threw Molotov cocktails at electricity stations throughout the state, leaving 11 towns and cities without power.

And,

The attacks in Mexico’s southern Michoacán state on Sunday morning left some 420,000 residents, about 10% of the state’s population, without electricity, authorities said. The outages also happened in Morelia city, where an international film festival attended by the directors Quentin Tarantino and Alfonso Cuarón was under way.

On Monday, as electricity mostly returned, the government didn’t specify how exactly the attacks shut down the system, only that armed men fired bullets and threw Molotov cocktails at electricity stations throughout the state, leaving 11 towns and cities without power

The Knights Templar emerged from what was left of la Familia Michoacana.


Venezuela: The ministry of Supreme Happiness

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The news on the latest scheme to waste oil money on propaganda made me wonder if they introduced it by having a Judy Garland impersonator singing this,

But noooo, it was created in honor of the late Hugo Chavez

The supreme happiness office, created in honor of the late president Hugo Chavez and the country’s revolutionary figure, Simon Bolivar, will serve the elderly, children, people with disabilities, and the homeless, according to local news reports. The minister will begin imposing cheer on December 9, in time to coincide with the first ever “Loyalty and Love to Hugo Chavez Day.” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the agency a “social advance in the struggle against the perfidy of capitalism.”

Zounds! “The perfidy of capitalism?” More like the day after the municipal elections, which are scheduled for December 8.

The article mentions that

The Earth Institute’s 2013 World Happiness Report placed Venezuela as the happiest country in South America (for the second year in a row) and twentieth worldwide.

Clearly the Earth Institute’s researchers managed to find folks that are blissful over cloth feminine pads, empty supermarket shelves and no toilet paper. The rest of the Venezuelans? Not so much.

It’s not quite clear just how supreme the happiness goes,

While there have been no details as to what the office will do, I can think of so many ways that it can celebrate and promote the happiness of all Venezuelans, particularly by pointing out happy events around the country, of which there are so many.

As an example, the Vice-Ministry could make sure to interview on TV anyone who managed to buy a package of corn flour, which has become one of the supreme moments of any Venezuelan’s life in the the last few months. And even if you think that finding toilet paper is another such happy moment, the Vice-Ministry could celebrate not only the finding of the roll of toilet paper by those citizens that lacked it, but more importantly recreate the moment of supreme happiness that represents using it for the first time after not having any for a while.

Feeling unhappy, try Orwellian Venezuela: Maduro creates the “Supreme Happiness” office
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of the “Supreme Happiness Under Secretary” to address social debt shortcomings and which was in honor of the late Commandant and president Hugo Chavez and the country’s liberator, Simon Bolivar.
As mentioned abovem timing is everything:

The Orwellian and Kim Il Sung style announcements coincide with the creation of the “Loyalty and Love to Hugo Chavez Day” and come a few weeks ahead of the 8 December municipal elections which could bring surprises to the Bolivarian revolution ravaged by the most serious economic shortcomings in a decade particularly the lack of sufficient food and basics in the country’s stores.

“Social debt shortcomings,” indeed.

Indeed; the Supreme Happiness is headed by a military officer (a.k.a. “Viceministerio para la Suprema felicidad social del pueblo venezolano“), as are also the office of Sovereign People, the Superior Office for the Defense of the Economy, and the Strategic Superior Centre for Homeland Security and Protection.

Happiness all around! How Venezuela’s Military Tried to Fly A Ton of Cocaine to France

police in France, Italy and Spain had launched a joint investigation some months previous, operating undercover in Europe and Venezuela without the knowledge of the Venezuelan government. “They could not tell the Venezuelan government what was going on, because they knew that high-ranking Venezuelan military officials were involved.”

Italian police managed to infiltrate the criminal operation, she said, getting details from informants about collaboration between the Venezuelans and the Ndrangheta, the powerful Italian mafia who are estimated to control 80 percent of the cocaine coming into Europe. The ‘Ndrangheta were due to receive the shipment, which Camero believes was originally purchased by the GNB from the FARC in the border state of Apure.

Happiness, 31 suitcases worth.

Linked to by Dustbury, and by Cherokee Gothic. Thank you!

Mexico: Clown union disavows killing

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Last week a hit man dressed as a clown killed a drug lord. This week the clown union disavowed knowledge of his actions:

Mexico clown convention rejects cartel killing link

Clowns gathered at a convention in Mexico City have denied any of their colleagues were behind the killing of a former drug cartel leader last Friday.

“The people who do that, they’re not clowns. I can swear on my mother’s grave it wasn’t a clown,” Tomas Morales, whose stage name is Clown Llantom, told Associated Press news agency.

My first reaction was, “The real clowns unionized; who knew?”, but the real story is that they found it necessary to have to make this statement. It clears things up with those involved in the drug trade, and it brings them publicity.