Venezuela

Colombia: FARC meets army brass, coke flow uninterrupted

Posted on August 24th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ColombiaColombian military brass held their first meeting with FARC guerilla leaders at peace talks in Havana Aug. 22. The meeting focused on the specifics of implementing a ceasefire and the eventual demobilization of the guerillas.  Earlier in the week the guerilla leaders met, also for the first time, a group of war victims to discuss formation of a truth commission for the conflict. But Colombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez sent a letter to President Juan Manuel Santos criticizing creation of the Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims, fearing an outcome favoring the FARC’s version of events. (BBC News, Aug. 22; Colombia Reports, Aug. 21)

Aruba frees Venezuelan 'narco-general' wanted in US

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

VenezuelaVenezuela has scored a win in its ongoing diplomatic and propaganda war with Uncle Sam. The most recent flare-up started July 24, when authorities in Aruba arrested Gen. Hugo Carvajal, a top Venezuelan official wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. Carvajal had been military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and was accused by the US Treasury Department of using his position to protect cocaine shipments for Colombia's FARC guerillas. He had just arrived in Aruba after being appointed Venezuela's consul there—and was promptly detained at Washington's behest. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called the detention a "kidnapping," and demanded Carvajal's immediate release. And three days later, a judge on the island found that since Carvajal had a diplomatic passport, his arrest was illegal. He was sprung and quickly made the short flight back to Venezuela. "He's returning free and victorious. It's a triumph for sovereignty and legality," president Maduro said, praising the "bravery" of the Dutch government. (The Guardian, July 28; BBC News, July 27; Maduradas, July 24)

Reefer madness hits Venezuela

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

VenezuelaVenezuela’s interior minister Miguel Rodríguez announced April 22 the arrest of nine people on charges of leading, financing and organizing violent anti-government protests in the Caracas municipality of Chacao. On the basis of "previous intelligence operations," Rodríguez said 10 homes were raided before dawn, netting the nine suspects who, "according to people detained several days before, were handing out money" to demonstrators. He said police have warrants for 15 more who are supposedly directing "these violent groups engaged in terrorist activities." He added that those previously detained confessed that in addition to cash payments, they agreed to take to the streets in exchange for "genetically modified marijuana." Said Rodríguez: "They give them that drug to get them high and keep them in permanent activity against security forces." (LAHT, April 21)

Crime wars rock Venezuela

Posted on February 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

VenezuelaAt least two people were shot dead Feb. 12 in student protests in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. An anti-government protester and a pro-government activist were each killed in an exchange of fire as rival demonstrators clashed, officials said.  "He was a comrade assassinated by the right-wing fascist hordes," National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello said of the second victim, a community leader from a poor neighborhood. At least 23 have been injured in demonstrations across the country. President Nicolas Maduro is under mounting criticism for the country's economic woes and high levels of violent crime. (Reuters, BBC News, Feb. 12)

Venezuela demands extradition of exiled judge from US

Posted on May 17th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Venezuela on May 16 demanded that the US extradite a former supreme court judge who has accused high-ranking figures of the Hugo Chávez government of links to drug-trafficking. The fugitive judge, Eladio Aponte Aponte, was removed from office in March over charges that he provided forged documents to accused trafficker Walid Makled. Aponte is co-operating with US authorities after his April 2 flight to Miami in a DEA-chartered plane. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the US must hand over Eliado Aponte, as there was a judicial process underway against him in Venezuela, and noted that an Interpol "red notice" has been issued for him.

US chews out Peru on coca eradication; Bolivia chews back

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

The US State Department's 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy report contains harsh words for Peru, lamenting the country's "slow advance" in coca leaf eradication. The report says the country has 53,000 hectares under coca cultivation. Colombia has 100,000 hectares—but Peru's total has increased in recent years, while Colombia's has dropped. (Although Peru has challenged these claims.) The report calls out Peru's Customs Service, Coast Guard, Port Authority and Public Ministry as blocking progress in the anti-narcotics struggle. State Department analyst Pedro Yaranga told Lima's La Republica that "there does not exist a decision to attack the coca source areas [cuencas cocaleras]." He particularly named the Upper Huallaga Valley and Apurímac-Ene River Valley (VRAE).

Venezuela, Bolivia: protecting or fighting the cartels?

Posted on December 19th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Even as the White House has censured Venezuelan officials for "narco-terrorist" ties, AP reported Dec. 15 that Venezuela handed a top Colombian drug trafficking suspect to US authorities. The US had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco AKA "Valenciano." InsightCrime informs us that "Valenciano" led the "Oficina de Envigado" criminal organization, seen as a successor to the Medellín Cartel. He was arrested last month in Maracay, west of Caracas.

White House expands drug watch list to include all Central America

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

President Barack Obama has included El Salvador and Belize on the list of 22 countries ranked as "Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012"—for the first time placing all seven Central American nations on the annual list that identifies countries that "significantly affect the United States" through their role in the drug trade.

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