Andes

US troops to Peru's coca zone

Posted on February 25th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PeruIt has been making practically no headlines outside Peru, and hardly any within, but a force of US Marines has apparently been mobilized to the Andean country—specifically to the conflicted coca-growing jungle region known as the VRAE, or Valley of the Apurímac and Ene Rivers. Peru's Congress quietly approved the deployment in a resolution Jan. 29. The first contingent of 58 soldiers arrived on Feb. 1, and a second of 67 troops on Feb. 15. They are to stay for a year on what is being called a "training" mission. A much larger contingent is to arrive in September, a total to 3,200 Marines, for a six-day joint exercise with Peruvian forces. (Defensa.com, Feb. 19)

Peru declares no-fly zone over coca valley

Posted on February 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PeruAuthorities in Peru Feb. 4 announced the declaration of a no-fly zone over the conflicted coca-producing region known as the VRAEM, for the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, in the country's southeast jungles. The head of Peru's anti-drug agency DEVIDA, Alberto Otarola (a former defense minister), spoke in blunt terms at a Lima press conference: "Any flight that is not reported to the aviation authority will be considered hostile and illegal. Peru must exercise the full sovereignty and jurisdiction of its airspace."

Colombia: peasants detain soldiers... again

Posted on January 19th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaIn another case of Colombian villagers staging a local uprising in response to militarization of their communities, on the night of Jan. 18 residents of La Emboscada hamlet at Argelia municipality in the conflicted southern region of Cauca detained 36 army troops for several hours. The rebellion was sparked by the death of a local resident who was shot when he tried to run an army checkpoint on his motorbike. Troops of the 56th Infantry Battalion were immediately surrounded by angry villagers, disarmed, and marched off to the Argelia cabacera (municipal building). Village authorities finally agreed to release the soliders after the government agreed to send a team to mediate. Colombia's official human rights ombudman, the Defensoría del Pueblo, is backing up villagers' demands that civilian rather than military authorities conduct the investigation into the killing. The army claims the slain man was carrying 25 pounds of coca paste. (ColPrensa, ColPrensa, Semana, Bogotá, El Heraldo, Barranquilla, Jan. 19)

Are the FARC narco-traffickers?

Posted on December 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAmid peace talks in Havana, Colombia's FARC guerillas issued an angry communique Dec. 14, insisting "We are a rebel group, not narco-traffickers." This was in response to President Juan Manuel Santos'  suggestion that FARC drug-trafficking could be considered a "political crime," potentially sparing guerilla leaders prosecution. This of course won Santos howls of outrage from the right; now he gets it from the other side. The FARC statement accused the government of trying to "confuse the minds of Colombians" with a "distortion," and decried the existence of a "capitalist narco-trafficking business" in the country. (El EspectadorEl Tiempo, Dec. 14)

Colombia: corrupt cops caught in crackdown

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaNineteen officers of Colombia's National Police force have been arrested this week in Medellín, the latest busts in an ongoing sweep of corrupt officers. Another 27 were arrested along with the officers, accused of being their handlers for criminal bosses. The targetted officers, associated with the downtown Candelaria police station, are accused of collaborating with Los Urabeños narco-paramilitary gang. Prosecutors say the officers were paid to turn a blind eye to criminal activity in the plazas of downtown Medellín, and to provide tip-offs on planned raids. The arrests come under the National Police force's new "Transparency Plan." National Police commander Rodolfo Palomino tweeted:  "They deserve to be treated like Judas, public officials of any institution that are thrown into the maw of corruption." Last month, 25 National Police agents were arrested in the crackdown nationwide. (Colombia Reports, Dec. 4; Colomba Reports, Nov. 20)

Colombia: Guajira crime lord falls, para links revealed

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on Oct. 22 announced the capture of one of the country's top fugitive crime lords—Marcos de Jesús Figueroa AKA "Marquitos"—in the Brazilian jungle city of Boa Vista. The extraordinary operation was coordinated by police forces in both Colombia and Brazil. "Marquitos" was considered the reigning boss of the lucrative narco trade in Colombia's northern region of La Guajira, with access to both the Caribbean Sea and the porous Venezuelan border. He is held responsible for a long reign of terror by criminal gangs and their paramilitary allies in the region—personally culpable in at least 100 deaths, according to authorities. Santos took the apprehension of Marquitos as an opportunity to crow: "With this, we say to criminals that it makes no difference where you are, we are going to catch you." (El Tiempo, Oct. 23; El Espectador, El Tiempo, Oct. 22)

Japanese Buddhists hold world peace ceremony in Cuzco

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CuzcoThe Japanese Buddhist community Shinnyo-en on Sept. 14 joined with Quechua elders and shamans for a "Prayer for World Peace" at Saksaywaman, the Inca archeaological site just outside Cuzco, Peru. Saksaywaman is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. The event included both traditional Quechua dance ritual and a special fire ceremony officiated by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, leader of Shinnyo-en and daughter of the late Shinjo Ito, who founded Shinnyo-en at Kyoto's ancient Daigoji monastery in 1943. Shinnyo-en is part of the esoteric Shingon Buddhist tradition, which dates to the 9th century CE. (Shinyo-En, Sept. 14; Cusco en Positivo, Sept. 11)

Peru: record coke bust points to Mexican cartel penetration

Posted on September 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

PeruA record-breaking cocaine bust on Peru's Pacific coast points not only to the country's booming production, but also the increasing role of the Mexican cartels in the Andean narco economy. Peru's Interior Ministry announced the haul in a Sept. 1 statement, saying National Police and DEA agents had uncovered an unprecedented 7.6 metric tons of coke hidden in a shipment of coal at a warehouse in the northern fishing port of  Huanchaco, Trujillo region. "This is the largest drug seizure ever in Peru," said Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, speaking at a Lima press conference below a banner reading "Historic Blow to Illegal Drug Trafficking" at the hanger where the shipment had been flown for incineration. "It's historic."

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