Tag Archives | Colombia

The New Cocaine Trade

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

John Lyons reports on some seismic shifts in where cocaine is produced, for the Wall Street Journal:

In the dusty town of Villa Tunari in Bolivia’s tropical coca-growing region, farmers used to barricade their roads against U.S.-backed drug police sent to prevent their leafy crop from becoming cocaine. These days, the police are gone, the coca is plentiful and locals close off roads for multiday block parties—not rumbles with law enforcement.

“Today, we don’t have these conflicts, not one death, not one wounded, not one jailed,” said Leonilda Zurita, a longtime coca-grower leader who is now a Bolivian senator, a day after a 13-piece Latin band wrapped up a boozy festival in town.

The cause for celebration is a fundamental shift in the cocaine trade that is complicating U.S. efforts to fight it. Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S.

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‘Operation Christmas': Colombian Army Installs Giant Christmas Tree in Rebel-Held Territory (Video)

Operation ChristmasThe BBC reports:
The Colombian army says it has installed a giant Christmas tree in Farc rebel territory, to encourage guerrilla fighters to demobilize. Special forces infiltrated the remote Macarena mountain range to dress a 25m (82 ft) high tree with 2,000 lights. Movement sensors will make the tree light up when guerrillas approach. The army says it will put up trees in nine other rebel-held zones to spread the message that Christmas is a good time to abandon armed struggle. The Colombian government says more than 2,000 guerrillas demobilized this year under a scheme that gives them amnesty and help to return to civilian life. "Operation Christmas," as it was code named, was carried out by elite troops using Blackhawk helicopters.
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3 Colombians on Facebook Hit List Killed

The famous social networking site has been turned into a virtual threatening network. When the first list was posted on the site authorities thought it was a joke, but if I received an e-mail notification stating my name on a hit list, I would not be laughing. CNN reports:

Three teens who were on a 69-name hit list posted on Facebook have been killed in the past 10 days in a southwestern Colombian town, officials say.

Police say they do not know who posted the list or why the names are on it. “It is still not clear,” Colombian national police spokesman Wilson Baquero told CNN. “This is part of the investigation.”

But officials note that a criminal gang known as Los Rastrojos and a Marxist guerrilla group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia operate in the area.

The hit list on Facebook, which was posted August 17, gave the people named three days to leave the town of Puerto Asis or be executed, said Volmar Perez Ortiz, a federal official whose title is defender of the public.

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The Game-Changing Colombian Narco-Sub

Chris Kraul reports from Bogota, Colombia, for the Los Angeles Times:
Police in Ecuador seized a 100-foot submarine being built by suspected drug traffickers capable of carrying a crew of six and 10 tons of cocaine on underwater voyages lasting up to 10 days — a "game changer" for U.S. anti-drug and border security efforts, officials said Monday.
A raid Friday by 120 police officers and soldiers netted the fiberglass sub as it was nearing completion in a clandestine "industrial complex"...
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World Cup Replica Made of Cocaine Found in Colombia

World Cup of CokeBBC News reports:
A replica World Cup trophy seized by anti-drugs police in Colombia is made out of cocaine, lab tests have confirmed. The 36cm (14in) statue was found in a delivery crate at Bogota airport. The crate was in an airmail warehouse waiting to be sent to an address in Spain, airport anti-drug chief Jose Piedrahita said. In another development, a submarine built by drug-traffickers was found in Ecuador before its maiden voyage. The World Cup replica was made up of 11kg (24 lb) of the drug, mixed with acetone or gasoline to make it mouldable.
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