Posts Tagged ‘drug trafficking’

Piedad Córdoba: “No turning back in the Colombian peace process”

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

x piedad cordoba 2“They took away my political rights to get me out of the way”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 16, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Gabriel Díaz

Piedad Córdoba, Colombian lawyer and politician, declares that there is no turning back in the peace process with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) despite the the fact that it has been “very poorly conducted educationally” by the Juan Manuel Santos administration. “Society should take ownership of this process,” she states. She talks in an interview about the Colombian economic model, about the business of war and about what is at stake in the Havana talks. As for her being disqualified from holding government positions, she states, “All my rights were violated.”

You support and work for the peace talks in Havana to come to a good end. The talks have all failed since 1984. What is it about this process in particular that makes you believe in it?

I believe that it lies in the political determination of the government and the FARC not to let the process fail at any point. That is demonstrated by the significant advances made so far and by the quality of the guarantors who are supporting the process, the unwavering support of the Cuban government and, above all, of countries like Venezuela and Chile, which, without being directly involved in the decisions, guarantee that the process can continue. That is why I think it has gotten this far. For example, the subcommittee on gender has been established, the committee on de-escalating the conflict, and the victims’ traveling to Havana and FARC itself recognizing them. Furthermore, there are advances concerning political participation, the question of agrarian reform and the question of drugs. (more…)

Mexico: Who benefits from the massacre in Iguala?

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

In Guerrero more than in any other state in Mexico, the army rules more than the elected governor

[Translation of an article from Más por Más of Mexico City for October 13, 2014. See original here.]

by Diego Enrique Osorno

In the early ‘70s the Mexican government, under pressure from the United States, carried out an ostentatious operation to eradicate the production of illegal drugs in Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua, which for a while left United States consumers with no marijuana or opiates. Nevertheless, just as this was happening, drug baron Alberto Sicilia Falcón and a group of military chiefs brought to Guerrero, for the first time, the massive cultivation of marijuana and opium poppies. So Sicilia, the drug trafficker, benefited from the production and sale of drugs, filling the void in the market left by Operation Condor in the Golden Triangle, while the maneuver aided the generals in Guerrero in their dirty war against the movement led by teachers’ college professor and guerrilla Lucio Cabañas, since the campesinos growing marijuana and poppies with their consent were turning into informers and collaborators with the army.

This is the origin of the famous marijuana known as Acapulco Gold, which could be a brand of the Mexican army. Testimony, documents and analysis of this reality can be read in a chapter of the book El Cártel de Sinaloa: Una historia del uso político del narco (Grijalbo, 2009). (more…)

Paraguay: A millionaire, a winner, a president and… a drug dealer?

Monday, April 29th, 2013

x  cartes_horacio[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 26, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Jorge Saenz

The life of Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara (born in Asunción on July 5, 1956) could be used as the script of any successful Latin American soap opera. As an adolescent he had the good fortune to enroll in the best educational institutions of the city: Goethe, Internacional and Cristo Rey; then he traveled to the United States where, by a stroke of luck, he made friendly ties with the Cessna aviation company, which gave him economic security. (more…)

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico: What Calderón isn’t teaching at Harvard

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

[Translation of an op-ed from La Jornada of Mexico City for March 1, 2013. See original here and the article by Felipe Calderón here.]

By Víctor M. Quintana S.

He will probably think that after reading his article published in Latin American Policy Journal they, like his entourage in Mexico, will say “Very well, Mr. President.” But what is certain is that only the indulgent professors, poorly informed concerning our beloved border, will swallow what Calderón claims about the success of his strategy against violence in Juárez.

In his article, “Todos Somos Juárez:  An Innovative Strategy to Tackle Violence and Crime,” Calderón relates that the strategy he put in place had three main components: sending in the army and the federal police; supporting local and state authorities in enforcing the law; and operating the Todos Somos Juárez program in order to reconstruct the battered social structure of the border. (more…)

Peru: Humala challenged by allies and the popular sector

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Twelve civilians have died in repression of social protests in the first year of this president’s term

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for July 3, 2012. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

by Marcio Zonta

Ollanta Humala Tasso finishes his first year in office in the midst of contradictions. In the first week of June alone, the Gana Perú congressional caucus, the base of the Partido Nacionalista Peruano, suffered four losses, for a total of five resignations of congress members who do not approve of the directions taken by the current administration.

Absorbed in the controversial issues of mining and the army’s confrontations in the Peruvian jungles with supposed drug traffickers and members of Sendero Luminoso, Humala has shown little aptitude or receptiveness to dialogue. On the other hand, he shows an extreme readiness for military solutions. (more…)

Mexico: Security forces fail to deal with criminals in Ostula, Michoacán

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Only one communal leader survives

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 22, 2011. See original here.]

By Blanche Petrich

The minutes of the last meeting that federal and state authorities of Michoacán held in Morelia last November 28 with community leaders from Ostula in an attempt to curb the criminal activities of armed groups that ravage the coastal region bear at the bottom the wavering signatures of Trinidad de la Cruz Crisóstomo and Santos Leyva, the aging leaders, in their 70s, of the Nahua indigenous movement who for decades kept alive the desire to recover the lands on the edge of the town of Aquila that had been taken from them.

Santos Leyva was president of the commons. His son, Pedro Leyva, had been an outstanding leader in recent years and had carried the struggle to other venues of resistance, like the Congreso Nacional Indígena and the Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad. He was assassinated on October 6. He was victim number 27 of the unrelenting process of extermination suffered by that people, who had decided three years earlier to establish a new settlement, which they named Xayacalan, “Place of the Masks,” after their ritual dance of the Xayakates. (more…)

Central America: Northern Triangle countries are being militarized

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Repressive strategies led by former soldiers are the new norm in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador for December 14, 2011. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Gerardo Arbaiza

The Central American Northern Triangle, consisting of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, has been found in several studies to be the most violent region of the world not involved in an armed conflict.

According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Honduras is in first place in the world in homicides, with a rate of 78 for every 100,000 inhabitants, followed by El Salvador with 66 and, three levels below, Guatemala, with a total of 41 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

The World Health Organization considers a country to be in an epidemic when the rate of deaths from any cause reaches ten for every 100,000 inhabitants.

The strategy these countries have adopted recently to reduce these figures is directed at taking members of the armed forces and using them together with police forces for tasks of citizen security. (more…)

Local elections in Colombia, in the shadow of ‘parapoliltics’

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

At least 41 candidates have been assassinated by guerrillas or by paramilitaries during the campaign

[Translation of an article from Nueva Tribuna of Madrid, Spain, for October 28, 2011. See original here.]

By Javier M. González

This Sunday, October 30, Colombians will choose local and regional officials in the first elections under the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos. Between February 2 and October 20, 41 candidates were assassinated by diverse violent groups, according to a study by the independent NGO Misión de Observación Electoral (MOE – Electoral Observation Mission). This figure is practically double the number of deaths recorded in the last regional elections, in 2007.

The guerrillas, especially the FARC, rightist paramilitary groups, drug traffickers and other criminal groups are also competing in these elections, through the buying of candidates or the assassination of possible adversaries. For the different violent organizations, of the right or the left, tied or not to drug trafficking or other illegal activities, the control of mayors, city councilors and even governors is an objective that assures them impunity for their activities. And, in many cases, access to security information vital to their survival. (more…)

From Monterrey to Atlántida

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

A demonstration against violence in Monterrey

[Translation of an editorial from El Faro of San Salvador for August 29, 2011. See original here. Atlántida is a state on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, best known as a luxury tourist attraction but recently also a center of drug trafficking and other organized crime, and of the violence that results.]

The recent attack on a casino in Monterrey, which left more than 50 dead, raised even higher the level of horror that drug trafficking gangs have unleashed in Mexico in their delivery of drugs to the United States.

President Felipe Calderón, besieged by a population fed up with so much bloodshed, pointed rightly toward the United States, asking that country to begin the task it has never been willing to take on: that of decreasing the drug use and toughening its control over the sale of fire arms. (more…)

Brazil: Seminar denounces penal state

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Reuters photo by Sergio Moraes

[Abridged translation of an article from Correio da Cidadania of São Paulo for December 17, 2010. See original here.]

by Luciana Araujo

At a seminar held December 7 through 9 in a lecture hall at the law school of the University of São Paulo, dozens of human rights organizations denounced the existence of a penal state in Brazil. The close to 450 participants in the event approved a statement of repudiation of police violence against the poor population of Rio de Janeiro and called for the establishment of a people’s tribunal in the Complexo do Alemão [a group of favelas in northern Rio de Janeiro] in January of next year.


Peru: García would accept military aid from US for anti-drug effort

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Alan García — La República photo

[Translation of an article from La República of Lima for September 5. See original article here.]

President Alan García has said he is prepared to accept military aid from the United States to help combat drug trafficking as long as it is on the level of logistics and training.

“In all matters that are human and universal, I don’t make an issue of sovereignty and patriotism. That is to say, if the Americans wanted to put troops here for training, since they have helicopters, since they have satelite training, that’s fine,” García declared.

The statements were made during an interview given to CNN en Español which will be broadcast next Tuesday.

The president also referred to US President Barack Obama and to the economic aid that country contributes to the struggle against narcotrafficking in Peru, which García considers insufficient.

“President Obama asked me the same question and I told him, ‘It is your fault because you have sent all the money to Colombia, with Plan Colombia, and nothing to Peru,’” García said.

In the past few years, the production of coca leaf and the manufacture of cocaine have increased in Peru to the point of making it the greatest cultivator in the world of the plant, the principal ingredient of the illegal substance.

At the same time, as explained by the executive president of the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas, Rómulo Pizarro, United States economic aid has been decreasing year by year, since the country considers that the Peruvian drug is destined principally for Europe and not for their country.

During the interview, García recognized that “not everything necessary is being done to close the new European and Asian markets, which are demanding more drugs.”

United States launches “humanitarian mission” in Costa Rica

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

USS Iwo Jima arrives with marines, medics and engineers

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 23.]

Limón, August 22 – In the midst of controversy over permission the Costa Rican congress granted six weeks ago for a fleet of 46 United States warships to dock in this country for the purpose of combatting drug trafficking, the USS Iwo Jima today launched a “humanitarian mission” in one of the poorest areas of the country as the first leg of a tour including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname.

The Iwo Jima, a 257-meter-long helicopter carrier belonging to the United States navy and under the command of Thomas Negus, will serve as the base of operations to aid the civilian population in a program termed “Continuing Promise 2010,” which will end on August 30.

The ship carries a crew of 1,000, as well as 500 marines, 150 medics, 50 engineers and 100 volunteers, who will carry out 300 operations to relieve the work of the Limón hospital, provide outside consultations to1,200 patients a day and set up mobile clinics in Bribrí and Siquirres to attend to 250 people a day. (more…)