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April 04, 2007

This week in the war on drugs

I don't know if I will have the heart necessary to make entries of this sort often. National Public Radio [NPR] announced on monday a week long set of audio features (sweetened by online exclusive features) on the "forgotten" War On Drugs. It is spreading its coverage across two of its daily news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The overview of all NPR coverage on The Forgotten War On Drugs can be found at their website. They also offer an RSS Feed for their coverage.

The BBC Americas online edition offers several stories from last week. The Peruvian President has announced that he will commence bombing of cocaine labs within his own country. He is using the potential for political insurgency like that in Colombia as his causus belli. His is becoming a typical action as he has to be seen to be doing something about cocaine, even as he has declared that he will attempt to make legitimate uses for coca economically viable. In another story Police in Mexico have arrested a man they believe is the head of one of Mexico's biggest drug cartels. The "take the war to them" policy in Colombia and Bolivia has spread the violence and insecurity to Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. In the meantime, in Colombia, paramilitary militias were raised as private security forces, either because the rule of law was thought to be threatened, or as protection for the operations of drug cartels and their leaders. These militias have themselves become self-sustaining through participation in the drug trade. The Colombian government has issued international arrest warrants for three Israeli men wanted in Colombia in connection with the alleged training of paramilitary fighters. These militias are distinct from the groups of guerillas that also have been fighting an insurgency in Colombia for close to fifty years. Currently, any relationship with these militias, past or present, is considered political poison, as reported in the BBC Mundo, a spanish language news source. This politcal poisoning is affecting the highest levels of elected office in Colombia. The President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has been accused of ties to one or more of these milita groups. The LA Times now reports that one of Colombia's top military officers is being accused of having ties to the militia groups by the CIA. [requires free registration] An allegation which the Colombian goverment renounces. [requires free registration] In another story of "heartwarming courage", the LA Times reports on the Mayor of Neiva (the town of my birth) who won't give in to continued attempts on her life by the guerilla group known as the FARC.[free registration required] She has been attacked with explosive devices since before she took office. My parents live in Neiva, and we plan to visit them this summer. The last story in our update also come from the LA Times. A drug shipment of 20 Tons of cocaine were seized in Panama on their way to Mexico for distribution.

So that is a snapshot of what has gone on this week. Tune in to see if I can screw up the courage to chronicle more of these tidbits of research.

Posted by SWEAT at April 4, 2007 08:59 AM