Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

In latest diplomatic bloodletting, Venezuela expels three U.S. diplomats

| February 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JIM WYSS

If the past is a guide, the United States is likely to retaliate with a tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsion after Venezuela said it would be ousting three U.S. embassy personnel.

President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday said three unnamed U.S. consulate officials were “conspiring” against the country.

“Go back to Washington and conspire,” Maduro said during an address late Sunday. “Leave Venezuela alone.”

He said the officials had been visiting private universities in Caracas under the guise of offering visas, “but we know they were conspiring,” he added.

The U.S. State Department was closed for President’s Day and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The expulsions come amid growing tensions in the Andean nation. Swelling student protests, which have lasted more than a week, have sometimes resulted in clashes with government security. On Wednesday, three people were killed and more than 60 were injured.

More protests are expected this week. On Tuesday, opposition ... Read More

Legal U.S. Pot Won’t Bring Peace to Mexico

| January 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY ALEJANDRO HOPE

Since Jan. 1, Colorado has had a legal marijuana market. The same will soon be true in Washington State, once retail licenses are issued. Other states, such as California and Oregon, will likely follow suit over the next three years.

So does this creeping legalization of marijuana in the U.S. spell doom for the Mexican drug cartels? Not quite. The illegal marijuana trade provides Mexican organized crime with about $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year. That’s not chump change, but according to a number of estimates, it represents no more than a third of gross drug export revenue. Cocaine is still the cartels’ biggest money-maker and the revenue accruing from heroin and methamphetamine aren’t trivial. Moreover, Mexican gangs also obtain income from extortion, kidnapping, theft and various other types of illegal trafficking. Losing the marijuana trade would be a blow to their finances, but it certainly wouldn’t put them out of business.

But surely Mexico ... Read More

The dark past of a Venezuelan diplomat

| April 27th, 2013 | No Comments »

JOSÉ PERNALETE

DIARIO LAS AMERICAS

TRANSLATION BY IASW

MIAMI. – More than 20 years ago, attorney Calixto Ortega worked as a litigator in the city of Maracaibo. In 1991 he was involved in a scam that affected the lives of the family members of the victims of a plane crash.

This week it was shocking to hear that the Venezuelan government appointed Ortega as charge d’affaires for Venezuela in Washington.

Meanwhile, the United States government considered this decision as a step in the right direction, as reported by the Associated Press.

The newly elected Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, said that Ortega’s appointment will increase the dialogue between the two countries with a mission to keep in touch with academic representatives, legislators, and U.S. government spokespersons.

Calixto Ortega’s appointment as a senior official at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington did not take into account his lack of preparation in diplomatic affairs. He is a former congressman in the ... Read More

‘They stole our dreams’: blogger reveals cost of reporting Mexico’s drug wars

| April 4th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK

BY RORY CARROLL

For three years it has chronicled Mexico‘s drug war with graphic images and shocking stories that few others dare show, drawing millions of readers, acclaim, denunciations – and speculation about its author’s identity.

Blog del Narco, an internet sensation dubbed a “front-row seat” to Mexico’s agony over drugs, has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays bare, day after day, the horrific violence censored by the mainstream media.

The anonymous author has been a source of mystery, with Mexico wondering who he is and his motivation for such risky reporting.

Now in their first major interview since launching the blog, the author has spoken to the Guardian and the Texas Observer – and has revealed that she is, in fact, a young woman.

“I don’t think people ever imagined it was a woman doing this,” said the blogger, who asked to use pseudonym Lucy to protect her real identity.

“Who am ... Read More

Mexico says marijuana legalization in U.S. could change anti-drug strategies

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

BY WILLIAM BOOTH

MEXICO CITY — The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”

It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.

Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of ... Read More

Mexico’s new gov to review pot fight after US vote

| November 8th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY E. EDUARDO CASTILLO & MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

MEXICO CITY — The legalization of recreational marijuana in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado will force Mexico to rethink its efforts to halt marijuana smuggling across the border, the main adviser to Mexico’s president-elect said Wednesday.

Luis Videgaray, head of incoming President Enrique Pena Nieto‘s transition team, told Radio Formula that the Mexican administration taking power in three weeks remains opposed to drug legalization. But he said the votes in the two states complicate his country’s commitment to quashing the growing and smuggling of a plant now seen by many as legal in part of the U.S.

“Obviously we can’t handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status,” Videgaray said. “I believe this obliges us to think the ... Read More