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.
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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.
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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.
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,
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.
“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.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.