Posts Tagged ‘Narco-trafficking’

Confirmed: U.S. Will Request That Mexico Extradite Drug Lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

BY DOLIA ESTEVEZ

Washington has decided to request the extradition of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, who is now in a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City. Mexico’s Attorney General José Murillo Karam said he expects the U.S. government will ask for Guzmán’s extradition in the “next hours.” During a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, Murillo Karam said there will be “no problem to process the request to decide, at the right time, what would be most appropriate.”

The “right time,” according to Mexican sources, would be after Guzmán is fully prosecuted and sentenced in Mexico, where he faces eight active criminal cases. Guzmán, who topped the list of most wanted drug criminals in the world and was captured last year, would not need to finish serving his sentence in Mexico in order to be sent to the U.S., according to Mexican diplomatic sources. Therefore, if the prosecutions proceed as ... Read More

Mexico’s Drug War: A New Way to Think About Mexican Organized Crime

| January 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

By Tristan Reed

Since the emergence of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s as one of the country’s largest drug trafficking organizations, Mexican organized crime has continued to expand its reach up and down the global supply chains of illicit drugs. Under the Guadalajara cartel and its contemporaries, such as the Gulf cartel, led by Juan Garcia Abrego, a relatively small number of crime bosses controlled Mexico’s terrestrial illicit supply chains. Crime bosses such as Miguel Angel “El Padrino” Felix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, oversaw the bulk of the trafficking operations necessary to push drugs into the United States and received large portions of the revenue generated. By the same token, this facilitated law enforcement’s ability to disrupt entire supply chains with a single arrest. Such highly centralized structures ultimately proved unsustainable under consistent and aggressive law enforcement pressure. Thus, as Mexican organized crime has expanded its control ... Read More

Race on the high seas: Cartels feature new, faster smuggling boats

| January 16th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

By Perry Chiaramonte

Latin America’s drug cartels are leaving the U.S. Coast Guard in their wake, with new and faster speedboats law enforcement officials say are virtually undetectable by radar.

The new boats, nicknamed “Picudas,” after a tropical fish whose long, thin bodies they resemble, are made of fiberglass, making them invisible to radar and efficient with fuel. While older smuggling vessels took as long as three days to make the trip from Costa Rica to Jamaica, the Picuda can make the trip in two.

Dialogo, a newspaper published by the Pentagon’s Southern Command, quoted one Coast Guard source that called the craft “a wave-breaking go-fast wonder that defies radar detection.” The boats give the bad guys a leg up on authorities trying to cut off the flow of South American drugs, according to the article.

“They [cartels] are being forced to do something that they would rather not,” Adam ... Read More

Rebuilding Venezuela

| January 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

Venezuela is collapsing. President Nicolas Maduro’s dash-for-cash to Beijing last week was a humiliating failure. Half-mile food lines wind through the streets of Caracas and other cities. Maduro’s Cuban handlers are abandoning a ship they helped sink, while Venezuelan military officers are pondering the challenge of how to suppress angry, desperate protesters to buy time for an unpopular, incompetent regime.

Maduro is wrestling with popular unrest, food shortages, a real inflation rate of 90 percent, blackouts, crumbling infrastructure, and other domestic challenges. Ruinous policies ushered in by the late Hugo Chavez intentionally strangled the private sector — part of the Cuban formula to make Venezuelans too dependent on the state to resist its will.

The 40 percent drop in global oil prices has hit Venezuela hard, because Caracas relies on petrodollars to provide 96 percent of its export earnings and 45 percent of Venezuelan government revenues. The productivity of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, ... Read More

Obama Pledges to Help Mexico Eliminate ‘Scourge’ of Violence

| January 7th, 2015 | No Comments »
CNBC-01

While critics protested outside the White House, President Barack Obama pledged to help Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto “eliminate the scourge and violence of drug cartels” like that suspected in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

Peña Nieto made his first visit to Washington Tuesday, accompanied by several Cabinet members, to tout his economic reforms such as the opening of the its oil and gas industry to private investment.

But his legislative feats have been overshadowed by the violence against 43 students, some whose bodies were said to have been later incinerated, and criticism of how his administration has handled the investigation of the students’ disappearance.

Mexican federal agents have arrested dozens of people, including the mayor of Iguala, Mexico, his wife and police. Detainees confessed they murdered the 43 kidnapped students and burned their bodies. But, the victims’ families have demanded more evidence, ... Read More

Venezuela Braces For A Tough Year Ahead

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
NPR

Times are tough in Venezuela and likely to get even tougher this year.

Before oil prices started crashing last summer, cutting revenue for the oil-rich country, President Nicolas Maduro was already presiding over a country plagued by food shortages, soaring inflation and rising discontent.

All this has made the president unpopular in many quarters. And it would seem to present a golden opportunity for opponents of the country’s socialist government that’s held power for the past 15 years.

However, Venezuela’s opposition remains fractured and weak while one of its main leaders, Leopoldo Lopez, is behind bars.

Last February, Lopez helped lead massive anti-government demonstrations that he hoped would force the resignation of Maduro. Instead, Lopez was arrested and charged with inciting violence during the protests, which left 43 people dead.

His incarceration is taking a toll on his family.

His wife, Lilian Tintori, recently climbed into the back of an SUV with her 5-year-old daughter Manuela. ... Read More

Jackson Diehl: Obama is overlooking deep trouble in Venezuela

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Jackson Diehl

An enduring characteristic of Barack Obama’s presidency has been his determination to implement the ideological agenda with which he arrived in office without regard for conditions in the real world. He imposed timetables for “ending the wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq unlinked to military progress. He insisted on pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even though the leaders of both sides were manifestly unwilling. He began his second term by seeking a new nuclear arms deal with Vladi­mir Putin, despite abundant evidence that Putin was preparing for confrontation with the West.

Now, six years into his presidency, Obama has launched, as his first significant initiative in Latin America, detente with Cuba. It’s a torch that many liberals have carried for decades. Once again, however, the president has acted with willful disregard for current events.

In particular, two salient facts were ignored. The first is that the regime of Raúl Castro was desperate ... Read More

Brutal Gang Violence Reigns In El Salvador

| December 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
wbur

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR — In a country with all the sun and verdure of an idyllic resort, but none of its safety, new white vans and pick-ups convey a steady supply of corpses through the crowded traffic of San Salvador, the capital city, to the Office of the Medical Examiner. Fifty-two murders in 72 hours, said local newspaper headlines on Nov. 18.

If you want to know why so many Salvadorans are running north this year, the medical examiner’s receiving room seems a good place to start. The victims keep the metal autopsy tables and attending doctors at full capacity. On display are the youth of El Salvador.

“Seventy percent of the people who are killed are between 15 and 30 years old,” Dr. Miguel Enrique Velasquez says in Spanish.

According to a recent report from UNICEF, El Salvador has the world’s highest rate of homicide for ... Read More

Farc ‘amnesty’: Colombian marchers reject ‘impunity’

| December 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

Thousands of people have joined protests in Colombia against a possible amnesty for Farc rebels as part of a peace process to end 50 years of conflict.Many of the marchers were supporters of former President Alvaro Uribe, an opponent of his successor, Juan Manuel Santos.

They argue that peace should not come at the price of impunity.

In two years of talks in Havana, a number of issues have been agreed.

Negotiators are now discussing how the left-wing rebels should lay down their arms, and whether they should face prosecution for human rights atrocities and drug trafficking.

The rallies in several cities across the country were organised by the Colombia Quiere movement and backed by the Centro Democratic Party of former President Uribe.

In Medellin, where Mr Uribe led the march, he said: “We call on the army to support us by fighting and defeating the guerrillas, if the government wants it or not.”

On social ... Read More

Violence in Mexico and Central America

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

FROM the age of 13 Victor Toruño walked the dirt streets of Hialeah, a slum in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, with a shotgun in his hands. His gang, Los Cancheros (a cancha is a sports pitch), ruled the neighbourhood. “We felt that with guns we were like gods, we could do anything we liked,” he says. Gang members were his only friends; a tattoo of a skull on his left arm commemorates one whose head was cut off with a machete. “I was machista. I was the one who told everyone what to do. I was like a psychopath,” he says.

Mr Toruño, now 27, absorbed the codes of machismo from infancy. While he hid under the bed, his father would beat up his mother. His father later abandoned the family. Mr Toruño developed the same traits. He abused his partner, Martha, yelled at his two children and felt hatred for ... Read More

The Day after Tomorrow: Colombia’s FARC and the End of the Conflict

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
International Crisis Group

Talks to end five decades of civil conflict in Colombia have seen unprecedented progress. But negotiators still need to agree on arguably the most sensitive point on their agenda: a bilateral ceasefire, the “leaving behind of weapons” (or disarmament) and the reintegration of FARC members. In its latest report, The Day after Tomorrow: Colombia’s FARC and the End of the Conflict, the International Crisis Group examines which guarantees will be needed so that both sides can trust the future agreement. The stakes could not be higher. If FARC’s transition to civilian life fails or is incomplete, more violence could ensue, posing threats to the political legitimacy of the entire peace accord.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

To win public faith in the talks and break the ground for a definitive ceasefire, both parties need to de-escalate the confrontation and build mutual confidence. This requires FARC to end ... Read More

Mexico missing students fury rocks President Pena Nieto

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

By Will Grant

As Enrique Pena Nieto reached his second year in office, he might well have reflected on how quickly the narrative of a presidency can change.

In February, his airbrushed photograph graced the front cover of Time magazine with the much derided headline “Saving Mexico” emblazoned underneath.

Mr Pena Nieto had “passed the most ambitious package of social, political and economic reforms in memory”, the publication said, adding that “alarms are being replaced with applause” in the country.

Now any applause for Mr Pena Nieto by the political and business elite has been drowned out by the near-constant calls for him to step down.

His anniversary, on 1 December, was marked by Molotov cocktails, broken windows and protesters clashing with the police in Mexico City.

The chain of events that sparked the crisis began on the night of 26 September.

Amid a protest in the town of Iguala, police fired on unarmed student teachers, killing six people.

The officers ... Read More

Mexico sends federal troops into towns plagued by drug gangs

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

(Reuters) – Mexican federal troops will replace local police in 32 municipalities, a top security official said on Wednesday, in a bid to contain drug gangs that have fueled a surge in violence and often operate in league with local police.

Last week, President Enrique Pena Nieto vowed to stop collusion between officials and drug gangs as he tried to defuse anger over an apparent massacre of 43 students in September in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Monte Alejandro Rubido, director of the National Security Commission, said in a statement that military troops and federal police had taken control of security operations in the municipalities spread across the states of Guerrero, Michoacan and the State of Mexico.

The government did not say how many federal troops had been deployed in the operation.

Pena Nieto is under growing pressure from protesters to end impunity and brutality by security ... Read More

Mexico’s law-and-order crisis: Missing the point

| November 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

On November 27th Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, did what he should have done long ago: he announced a series of measures aimed at making the rule of law a priority of his administration. He did it in response to a groundswell of protest against his government triggered by the disappearance of 43 students in the southern state of Guerrero two months ago. But in failing to acknowledge any responsibility for the crisis, and in failing to challenge the entire political system to clean up its act, he may have missed a chance to turn the tide of public opinion.

In a nutshell, he localised the problem. He said he would draft laws to enable the authorities to remove municipal authorities colluding with drug traffickers, as allegedly happened with tragic consequences for the 43 students. He plans to replace Mexico’s 1,800 municipal police forces with 32 ... Read More

Will Scandals In Mexico Dampen Investment?

| November 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
Forbes

By Nathaniel Parish Flannery

The past few months have been a difficult time for Mexico. In a recent article for the World Politics Review I explained, “Autumn has been a difficult season for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Public furor has erupted into sustained and sometimes violent protests over the disappearance of 43 students in the rural southwestern state of Guerrero. Long one of Mexico’s poorest, most crime-ridden and isolated states, Guerrero had not been a priority for Pena Nieto’s administration, which has focused tirelessly on promoting the image of a modern and efficient Mexico to foreign investors.”  Although 2014 has marked a number of successful economic reforms and an uptick in economic growth, Mexico’s autumn has been sullied by scandals.

In a recent article for the International Peace Institute‘s Global Observatory I explained, “For nearly two years, Peña Nieto has trumpeted a series of ambitious reforms and also studiously worked to avoid discussing security issues. His entrance into office ... Read More

Mexico’s security crisis: Will Iguala be a wake-up call?

| November 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
AEI

BY ROGER F. NORIEGA AND JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS

Key points:

The kidnapping and probable murder of 43 students at the hands of corrupt local officials and drug gangsters in September is a tragic reminder of persistent criminality and weak government institutions in much of Mexico. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has prioritized key economic reforms over security, and his administration must now deal with instability that undermines his goal to modernize Mexico. The United States should invigorate security cooperation with Mexico to fight crime and secure the border to safeguard the long-term benefits of a healthy US-Mexico economic partnership.

Mexico’s democracy, stability, and economy require a collaborative response from all levels of government to quell the wave of recent political unrest and address the underlying causes of insecurity and public dissatisfaction. The current crisis—sparked by national outrage over the September 26 disappearance of 43 students near the town of Iguala in ... Read More

Colombia kidnap: Farc to release Gen Alzate ‘next week’

| November 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

Colombia’s Farc rebels will release five captives, including Gen Ruben Dario Alzate, next week, President Juan Manuel Santos has announced.

Mr Santos said information about their release had been received, but he did not specify when it would happen.

Ruben Dario Alzate is the first Colombian general to be abducted in 50 years of civil conflict.

Peace talks between the two sides were suspended after the men were captured by the left-wing rebels last Sunday.

Cuban and Norwegian officials acting as mediators first announced a deal for their release on Thursday.

The rebels said they seized the men because they were unhappy at the continuation of Colombian military activities during peace talks.

Handover details: Arturo Wallace, BBC News, Bogota

President Juan Manuel Santos is likely to order the interruption of any military operations in a designated area for a short period of time, usually no more than 48 hours A delegation of the Red ... Read More

‘Ground Zero’: Tracking Heroin From Colombia to America’s Streets

| November 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
CNBC-01

BY MARK POTTER

BOGOTA, Colombia — The peaks of the Andes broke through the mist and clouds as a Blackhawk helicopter carried the Colombian national police toward a remote, rugged area often patrolled by insurgent guerrillas.

The mission: Visit a colorful poppy field on a steep mountainside about 300 miles south of Bogota — the place where much of the white heroin flooding American cities along the Eastern Seaboard originates.

 As the chopper approached the landing zone on a grassy mountaintop, Colombian police in military-style uniforms waved it into position. Peasant farmers, some with faces covered, watched suspiciously. Colombian police and officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with a crew from NBC News that they had invited along, climbed out of the helicopter and made their way down a rough, muddy trail, huffing and puffing in thin air.

Around the corner was a stunning sight — a four-acre ... Read More

Obama administration would back sanctions against Venezuela: official

| November 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration would like to work with the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela in response to a crackdown on anti-government protests, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Tony Blinken, who is Obama’s choice to be deputy secretary of state, said Washington had refrained from pushing for sanctions in the past few months to allow diplomatic efforts by some Latin American countries to secure the release of opposition leaders from jail and nudge Caracas toward electoral reform.

But those efforts have failed, Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his nomination hearing. “We would not oppose moving forward with additional sanctions,” he said.

In July, Washington barred a group of Venezuelan officials, including government ministers and presidential advisers, from the United States after accusing them of abuses in the crackdown on protests against President Nicolas Maduro this spring.

But the State Department did not ... Read More

Mexico: Violent Protests Hit Acapulco’s Tourism

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By ALBERTO ARCE

Mexico’s president has tried to keep the issue of violence issue separate from his focus on the economy, but the two are converging as violent protests over 43 disappeared students squelch tourism in Acapulco just before a major holiday weekend.

As Mexico prepares to commemorate its 1910 revolution Monday, hotels in the Pacific resort city have seen a wave of cancellations after demonstrators temporarily shut down the airport, blocked highways and attacked government and political offices in the southern state of Guerrero.

Acapulco hotel occupancy rates are currently at 20 percent, well short of the 85 percent expected for this long weekend when Mexicans typically flock to the beaches, Joaquin Badillo, president of the Employers’ Association for Guerrero state, said Wednesday.

More cancellations have been registered for Christmas week, the busiest time of the year for Acapulco tourism, and Badillo said one company that operates 10 hotels has cut about 200 ... Read More

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