The rise of organized crime in Venezuela's southern Bolívar region has been directly proportional to the state's neglect of local people and towns. Criminal gang lords impose terror using the same methods of extreme violence favored by the leaders of Venezuelan prisons, the pranes, turning the mining business into part of their criminal network.
Recent testimony before the US Senate revived allegations that a Venezuela-owned company in Nicaragua may have laundered money for Colombia's demobilizing FARC guerrillas, once again raising the question of whether foreign governments may have been complicit in washing the fighters' dirty cash.
The largest cocaine seizure ever in Germany points to the role of the port city of Antwerp in neighboring Belgium as a major entry point for drugs destined to Europe, in addition to confirming the impact of increased South American cocaine production on global trafficking trends.
The first sitting president in the history of Brazil to face criminal charges has been indicted once again, this time for allegedly obstructing justice and leading a criminal organization. Congress blocked the first set of charges from advancing. Will it protect the president a second time?