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Colombia

Colombia: peace efforts bear (tentative) fruit

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

ColombiaColombians made history March 8, as tens of thousands took to the streets in cities and towns nationwide—joined by Colombian ex-pats and immigrants in the US, Canada, Europe and elsewhere—to show their support for peace talks between the government and FARC guerillas. The "March for Life" was organized by Bogotá’s ex-mayor Antanas Mockus and was embraced by President Juan Manuel Santos, who joined the march in the capital. Since then, there have been some encouraging signs that the country’s multi-decade armed conflict is really coming to an end. (EuroNews, March 9; AP, Colombia Reports, March 8)

Colombia: peasants detain troops... again

Posted on March 25th, 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 March 24 a detachment of some 20 special anti-narcotics agents of the National Police were detained by indigenous peasants at the hamlet of Alto Naya, in the southern region of Cauca. Villagers apparently accused the troops, who were on a coca eradication mission, of entering indigenous lands without community consent. But the local National Police commander said consent had been secured at a meeting with village leaders held in the nearby town of Santander de Quilichao. In any event, police seemingly agreed to call off the eradication mission in order to win the release of the detained troops.

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)

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

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)

Honduras: new anti-narco force claims blow against Sinaloa Cartel

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

Central AmericaIn an operation dubbed "Saturn II," a unit of the new Honduran National Police elite anti-narco force, the Intelligence Troop and Special Security Response Groups (TIGRES), joined with DEA agents Oct. 2 to raid a house in the pueblo of El Porvenir Florida, near Copán on the Guatemalan border—scoring the arrest of one the country's reigning kingpins, José Inocente Valle Valle. The Valle Valle family is said to control the greatest share of cocaine passing through Honduras. Three other brothers of José Inocente remain at large, and face trafficking charges in the United States. Troops from the Guatemalan National Civil Police also participated in the raid. Among the items recovered in the house were 12 pieces of solid gold each impressed with the inscription "Sinaloa"—presumably indicating commerical ties between the Valle Valle family and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. (Tiempo, Honduras, Oct. 2)

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