Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Route To U.S. Cocaine Markets Starts In Gulf of Uraba

Bitter border fighting for drug routes starts in a land of total conflict

The Colombian navy intercepted a boat carrying 1,887 kg of cocaine in the Golf of Uraba on Sept. 21, EFE reported. The boat was traveling along the Acandi coast near Panama when the incident occurred. Authorities confiscated the shipment and arrested the five-member crew.
- Stratfor, 9/22/10

The paramilitary soldiers arrive in large groups, some of them wearing hoods. They drag people out of their homes and torture them in public, then they murder them.

Their routine accusation, that they are mixed up with the guerillas who arrive under cover of darkness, take up residence in the school rooms and public buildings of the towns, and exact a protection tax, is tantamount to a summary death sentence.

This province in northwestern Colombia is part of a bitterly contested illicit trade route that extends from the jungles of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to America's inner cities. The Gulf is placid, its shores easily accessible to the small boats used to transship the precious cargo of refined cocaine on its way to market.

Paramilitary soldiers, whom many say are trained by U.S. soldiers, serve the drug lords, men looking for a place to stash their vast wealth gained from illicit exports of cocaine. They are busy clearing the rain forest and turning it into pasture land for their vast herds of cattle.

They recruit new soldiers from the orphans of those they have killed as suspected guerilla sympathizers, many of them too small to fit in a paramilitary uniform or to lift their weapons.

Guerilla forces oppose these private armies, their Marxist doctrine dictating support from people they claim to protect. Many observers believe the guerillas slip across the border from Venezuela, then take refuge there or in the buffer zone of La Guajira when events turn too hot for them.

It's a bloody conflict that has attracted the attention of such liberal Senators as Russ Feingold, (D-WI), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to withhold certification of the Colombian government in its level of compliance with U.S. human rights standards.

Every mile of the trade routes that snake through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Pacific Coast to the Gulf, Sinaloa and Zeta drug cartels is heavily contested by these opposing private armies, the bloody influence of billions of dollars worth of illicit drugs smuggled to the ghettos of America exacting a toll in human misery at every step in the journey.

The fighting became so fierce that the Geneva Convention was invoked as far back as 1996 to afford human rights to indigenous people displaced by the fighting in an internal conflict fueled by a lucrative illicit trade on the one hand and U.S. military aid on the other.

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