Posts Tagged ‘Narco-trafficking’

Mexico Homicides: Something Doesn’t Add Up

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

BY ALEJANDRO HOPE

The government of Mexico‘s declarations of a dramatic reduction in homicides linked to organized crime does not correspond with the figures produced by the National System of Public Security. Someone is counting poorly.

Michoacan in flames. The State of Mexico in crisis. Kidnappings at historic levels. Extortion at epidemic levels.

But, good, homicides have diminished. That is what the government brags about with the least provocation. On February 21, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong affirmed that, at the end of the previous administration, “there occurred between 1,400 and 1,700 deaths due to organized crime; the month of January had 567, a thousand less. That 567 is terrible, but a thousand less; this speaks to highlight the reduction of violence.”

Translated and reprinted with permission from Plata o Plomo, Alejandro Hope’s blog on the politics and economics of drugs and crime published by Animal Politico. Read the Spanish original here. 

For his part, Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, recently named National Commissioner ... Read More

Mexico’s drug homicides down, but problems persist

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
UT San Diego

BY SANDRA DIBBLE

Mexico’s crackdown on powerful drug cartels has succeeded in driving homicides down for the second year in a row, but it has opened the door for an increase in crimes, such as kidnapping and extortion, that affect greater numbers of ordinary citizens, according to report released Tuesday.

The crimes are being carried out by smaller and weaker groups “that focus on making money where they can,” said David Shirk, one of the authors of the University of San Diego study. “Unfortunately, improvements in the homicide rate did not entail universal improvements in citizen security.”

The study comes as President Enrique Peña Nieto is well into the second year of his six-year term. Unlike his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, Peña Nieto has played down public rhetoric against drug trafficking organizations, focusing instead on the need for political and economic reforms. But analysts say that Peña Nieto’s administration has continued ... Read More

Police in Colombia seize 3 tons of cocaine

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Colombian police on Tuesday seized 2,877 kilos (6,337 lbs.) of liquid cocaine discovered in the Caribbean port of Cartagena, where seven tons of the drug in solid form were confiscated a week ago.

The liquefied cocaine was mixed with dielectric oil – an insulator – and concealed inside an electric transformer set to be shipped to the Guatemalan port of Santo Tomas de Castilla.

The drugs seized Tuesday belonged to Los Urabeños, a gang made up of former right-wing paramilitaries, Colombian police said.

Colombia’s largest-ever seizure of liquid cocaine came just a week days after authorities in the port of Cartagena discovered seven tons of cocaine bound for Europe.

The national police recently sent a special investigative team to Cartagena to look into suspicions that some cops assigned to the port were colluding with drug traffickers, Bogota daily El Tiempo said Tuesday.

The amount of cocaine confiscated at Colombia’s ports has been on the increase ... Read More

Latin America the World’s Most Violent Region

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY DANIEL WISER

Latin America is now the world’s most violent region but is receiving less U.S. military and financial assistance, according to a recent report and other figures.

Latin America surpassed Africa as the region with the most murders per 100,000 people, according to the new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Several countries in the Western Hemisphere had murder rates that eclipsed 25 per 100,000 people in 2012, compared to the global average of about six.

The report said 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas could be attributed to a proliferation of organized crime and gang-related violence.

For example, Honduras had one of the world’s highest murder rates with 90.4 per 100,000 people. Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal groups such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs have infiltrated the country in recent years.

Some of the violence is fueled by those groups’ drug smuggling operations into the United States. ... Read More

Why The United States Has Done Nothing About Venezuela

| April 11th, 2014 | 3 Comments »
Business Insider

BY LINNETTE LOPEZ

Forty-one people are dead in Venezuela, political leaders are thrown in jail for leading demonstrators through road-blocked streets, food shortages worsen, and inflation continues to rise. Yet the regional power to the north, The United States, says little and does less.

There’s a reason for this, and Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro, outed it in an interview with The Guardian this month. He said:

“Is 100 years of intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean not enough: against Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Brazil? Is the coup attempt against President Chávez by the Bush administration not enough? Why does the US have 2,000 military bases in the world? To dominate it. I have told President Obama: we are not your backyard anymore.”

The United States is led by devils, according to Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez. It is trying to overthrow a Bolivarian revolution hundreds of years in the making. The ideology of the ... Read More

Sheriffs warn of violence from Mexican cartels deep into interior of U.S.

| April 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

BY KELLY RIDDELL

Outmanned and outgunned, local law enforcement officers are alarmed by the drug and human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping and money laundering that Mexican drug cartels are conducting in the U.S. far from the border.

U.S. sheriffs say that securing the border is a growing concern to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, not just those near the U.S.-Mexico boundary.

“If we fail to secure our borders, then every sheriff in America will become a border sheriff,” said Sam Page, sheriff of Rockingham County, N.C. “We’re only a two-day drive from the border and have already seen the death and violence that illegal crossings brings into our community.”

Sheriff Page, whose county has about 94,000 residents, noted that a Mexican cartel set up one of its drug warehouses about a mile from his home.

“These men are coming into our county with more firepower than I have,” he said Wednesday. “I’m literally outgunned.”

The sheriff in North ... Read More

Post-Chavez, Venezuela Enters a Downward Spiral

| April 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

Beginning in mid-February, Venezuela has experienced a stream of social demonstrations that have left about 30 people dead and hundreds wounded or under arrest, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez among them. The incidents are being called the largest wave of protests in Venezuela in the last decade.

Much like the social revolts that have occurred elsewhere in the world, students were the first in Venezuela to take their frustrations to the streets. They were later joined by others who were similarly concerned with the country’s high crime rate, galloping inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods. According to the country’s Central Bank, nearly 30% of all products — or their substitutes — cannot be purchased in Venezuela.

These economic problems are not necessarily new — such imbalances already existed when Hugo Chavez, who had led the country since 1999, died of cancer last March. But the challenges have recently become more acute. “Venezuela ... Read More

U.S. won’t send radar data to Honduras in dispute over law to shoot down drug aircraft

| April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
McClatchy

BY TIM JOHNSON

The U.S. government has ceased providing Honduras with radar tracking information out of concern that a new policy allowing its forces to shoot down aircraft suspected of hauling narcotics does not have enough safeguards to prevent error.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa distributed Tuesday said other U.S.-financed counternarcotics programs would not be affected, but that Washington already has ceased sharing certain types of information and assistance with Honduras.

A policy to shoot down drug-laden aircraft has come into favor and fallen out of favor in the past in Latin America, depending partly on the mood in Washington.

Honduran legislators in mid-January approved a law that authorized the nation’s air force to shoot down suspected drug planes on express orders of the defense minister. The law also limits night flights in the country and restricts flights through certain Caribbean provinces commonly used by narcotics smugglers bringing cocaine north from ... Read More

Ignoring our Venezuelan Friends of Freedom

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

By Joe Kaufman

It can be argued that, in 2009, had President Barack Obama aided the Iranians demonstrating against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, there would be no need for talk of the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran today. Iran’s leaders had dedicated much of their existence to hatred of America, referring to the U.S. as “Satan” and supporting anti-U.S. terror. But instead of assisting those calling for regime change, Obama turned his back on the protesters and ignored their pleas.

This was not the case in other parts of the Middle East, where Obama announced his full support to rebels looking to overthrow their respective governments – in Egypt, Libya and Syria. Each of these revolutions, though, were led by Islamists, who unlike the overtly pro-U.S. Iranian demonstrators, have much enmity for the United States and her allies.

Now, in a reprise of his attitude toward Iran, President Obama has chosen ... Read More

Ignorando a nuestros amigos venezolanos

| March 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Joe Kauffman

Por Joe Kaufman

Se puede argumentar que, en el 2009, si el presidente Barack Obama hubiera ofrecido ayuda a  los iraníes que se manifestaban contra Mahmoud Ahmadinejad y los mulá, no habría ninguna necesidad de hablar de la posibilidad de un Irán con armas nucleares en la actualidad. Los líderes de Irán han dedicado gran parte de su existencia a promover el odio hacia los Estados Unidos-refiriéndose a nuestro país como “Satanás” y apoyando a agrupaciones terroristas que buscan atacarnos. Pero en lugar de ayudar a aquellos que pedían un cambio de régimen, Obama les dio la espalda a los manifestantes y no hizo caso de sus súplicas.

Este no fue el caso en otras partes del Medio Oriente, donde Obama declaró su pleno apoyo a los rebeldes que buscaban derrocar a sus respectivos gobiernos, como en Egipto, Libia y Siria. Cada una de estas revoluciones, no obstante, fueron conducidas por islamistas, ... Read More

Southern Command: Venezuela on the brink of a catastrophe

| March 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

(TRANSLATION BY IASW)

BY LUIS ALONSO LUGO

WASHINGTON – The Commander of the United States Southern Command, General John Kelly, testified Thursday that it is necessary that Venezuelans resolve the internal conflict before it gets out of control and violence escalates.

“It’s a situation that obviously is falling apart in front of us,” Kelly said during in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Unless there is some kind of miracle in which the opposition or Maduro’s government pull back, this will turn into a catastrophe in terms of the economy and democracy.”

To a question from Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Kelly expressed his hope that “somehow Venezuelans resolve this themselves, without [the situation] spiraling out of control with much more violence.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz asked if Southern Command may limit the possible Iranian and Cuban assistance to Caracas to “use cyber tools against Venezuelan citizens,” but Kelly did not answer the question ... Read More

America’s Most Brutal Gang Could Be Big Winner In El Salvador’s Election

| March 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Watch the latest video at video.latino.foxnews.com

Watch the latest video at video.latino.foxnews.com

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere, Roger Noriega, explains why Americans should care about the elections in El Salvador.

Click here for original video

Read More

After a year without Chávez, is Venezuela unraveling?

| March 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN

BY CARL MEACHAM

This week, amidst political turmoil that has gripped the country and left more than a dozen dead and hundreds more injured and detained, Venezuela commemorated the passing of President Hugo Chávez.

Chávez was best known for his “Bolivarian Revolution,” through which he pursued aggressive, state-centered approaches to alleviate the social, political, and economic challenges facing Venezuela. And by some metrics he was successful – between 2004 and 2012, the country’s poverty rate halved, and literacy and access to healthcare increased substantially.

But Chávez also left behind a country deeply divided along political and socioeconomic lines, one suffering from skyrocketing crime and violence and bogged down by economic instability. Is his successor, Nicolás Maduro, now reaping the seeds of discontent sown by Chavismo?

Certainly, under Maduro the grim reality of rising crime has only worsened – though not for a lack of official policies aimed at reversing it. In his first year, Maduro dispersed thousands ... Read More

Argentina foils plot to smuggle cocaine in Spain in skis

| March 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

Police in Argentina say they have foiled a scheme to smuggle cocaine into Europe by hiding the drug in skis.

Five Argentines and one Spaniard have been detained and 14kg of cocaine seized in seven pairs of skis.

The cocaine had allegedly been compressed into tablets which were stuffed into specially build equipment.

Last year, British police found about 400kg of cocaine hidden in a frozen beef container that had been imported from Argentina.

The Argentine Security Secretary, Sergio Berni, said the gang was also involved in selling ecstasy to well-off clients in the capital, Buenos Aires.

“They’ve invented a home-made system. They’d create some kind of plate to attach to the underside of the skis and there they put the drugs. Each ski carried one kilo. They had seven pairs that would be sent to Spain,” Mr Berni told reporters.

The group had been under investigation for about six months, police said.

The operation seized a ... Read More

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman: The rise and fall of Mexico’s drug lord

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

It was nighttime in May of 1990, in the heyday of the cocaine boom across America. Twenty Mexican federal police officers and a handful of U.S. Customs agents, acting on a tip, descended on a stucco home on the edge of Agua Prieta, Mexico — a stone’s throw from Arizona. “Policia,” they yelled, guns drawn, before busting down the front door.

The house was empty but looked lived in, with dishes in the kitchen and toys in the backyard. The officers moved quickly to a spacious game room, complete with a bar and a pool table, set atop a three-metre-by-three-metre concrete panel on the floor.

An informant had told them that what they were looking for was under the pool table. They moved it aside and went to work with a jackhammer. Then, a stroke of luck: One of them turned the knob of a faucet and suddenly the floor panel rose into ... Read More

MS-13’s secretly backing ruling party in El Salvador

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
New York Post

The ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha street gang, a k a MS-13 — whose 10,000 members sow murder and mayhem in dozens of American cities — has been secretly backing El Salvador’s ruling party for several years, according to evidence that has emerged in recent weeks.

President Mauricio Funes has admitted to personally approving payoffs, prostitutes and other privileges for gang kingpins in exchange for their political support. If Funes’ FMLN party, which originated as a guerrilla movement in the 1980s, wins the March 9 presidential election, El Salvador may become a haven for gangs and narco-traffickers, with dire consequences for the United States.

MS-13’s violent thuggery plagues communities across America. For example, last September, 14 members of its Plainfield, NJ, branch were indicted for waging what US Attorney Paul Fishman called a “reign of terror,” including multiple murders and extortion. On Feb. 21, a 21-year-old convenience-store worker, herself a Salvadoran immigrant, was murdered in a ... Read More

Las elecciones cruciales para el presidente de El Salvador en 2014

| March 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
AEI

Las elecciones presidenciales de El Salvador pone a la nación en una encrucijada. ¿Van a continuar por el camino de la revolución al estilo venezolano, o elegir un nuevo camino hacia la libre empresa y la libertad política? AEI Fellow Roger Noriega explica.

Read More

Is El Salvador the next Venezuela?

| February 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Recent revelations about secret dealings by El Salvador’s ruling party with street gangsters and international narcotraffickers have many in that country worried that they may be drifting toward the lawlessness that has spawned chaos in Venezuela.

Indeed, as Venezuela’s oil aid dries up, the FMLN ( Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional) party might rely even more on the proceeds from criminal activities — putting El Salvador on the wrong side of U.S. anti-drug efforts. So, the stakes are high in the presidential run-off election on March 9.

Mauricio Funes was elected president in 2009 as a self-styled moderate who welcomed a positive relationship with the United States — distancing himself from hard-liners within the FMLN who cling to their radical-left ideology and guerrilla history.

Unfortunately, Funes adopted statist policies that have run up government spending and pushed debt to over 60 percent of gross domestic product. An economy that grew at an ... Read More

El Salvador’s crucial 2014 presidential election

| February 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
AEI

El Salvador’s presidential election puts the nation at a crossroads. Will they continue down the path of Venezuelan-style revolution, or choose a new path towards free enterprise and political freedom? AEI Fellow Roger Noriega explains.

Read More

El Salvador Could Be the Next Venezuela

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY DANIEL WISER

El Salvador could morph into another Venezuela if the current ruling party retains control in presidential runoff elections next month, a leading expert on the region tells the Washington Free Beacon.

Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs in the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview that the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), which currently has control of the country, reportedly has ties to regional drug traffickers, violent gangs in the country, and Venezuela’s regime.

The FMLN’s Salvador Sanchez Ceren nearly won the elections outright earlier this month after garnering almost 49 percent of the vote. Norman Quijano of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) finished in second with nearly 39 percent. The two will face off in a March 9 runoff election.

Noriega, now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said Sanchez Ceren represents the hardline, guerrilla faction of the leftist FMLN movement that emerged as a political ... Read More

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