Venezuela's ruling party has reportedly won a majority of governorships throughout the country in a recent election that was denounced as fradulent by opposition groups. But the real winner of the controversial vote seems to be organized crime, as the current administration has both supported and received support from criminal elements to which it is closely tied.
A protest by farmers in Colombia against government eradication of coca crops left several civilians dead and wounded. But conflicting version of events have made it difficult to determine whether blame for the bloodshed lies with Colombian authorities or FARC dissidents.
It was just before rush hour on August 23 when the Bogotá district police and SWAT squad came for the gangs of the Cartuchito, an area with a potent illicit drug trade and open consumption of bazuco, a cocaine derivative similar to crack. Clad in anti-riot gear and armed with batons and tear gas, police were sent in to "reclaim" the area "for the citizens," the city's Department of Security later tweeted. But that was the spin.
Colombia's EPL has offered to enter into peace negotiations with the government similar to those that have been held with other armed groups, but it is unlikely that authorities will deem the deeply criminalized organization a political actor deserving of a formal peace process.