Colombia News

Colombia Holds Its Ground in Drug War of Words with US

Colombia Holds Its Ground in Drug War of Words with US

Amid heated discord between the United States and Colombia regarding surging drug production in the South American country, Colombian officials are making it clear that they are not buckling under US pressure to harden the country's new, less draconian anti-narcotic strategies.

Colombia Profile

Colombia

Colombia

After over half a century of civil war and the rise and fall of drug trafficking empires, Colombia has made huge strides in improving its security situation in recent years. However, it remains beset by guerrilla rebels and criminal networks, and the Colombian underworld is a potent mix of ideological organizations and their remnants and organized crime where the boundaries between war and crime are fluid. These armed groups and criminal networks are involved in an extensive range of activities including drug production and trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion and illegal mining. 

More Colombia News

  • Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

    The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges of a post-conflict Colombia more evident, and perhaps no other part of the world is more indicative of how an economy can be fueled by the production and trafficking of cocaine. With villages that are dependent on the transformation of coca leaf into base paste, a port that connects local and international criminal actors, and rivers that serve as unguarded transportation routes for coca going north, Nariño truly is at the heart of everything.  

  • Weekly InSight: Latin America's Prison Dilemma

    This week's Facebook Live stream tackled prisons

    In our June 1 Facebook Live, co-directors Steven Dudley and Jeremy McDermott spoke about InSight Crime’s special investigation of prisons and their often overlooked impact on organized crime in the region.

  • FARC Demobilization Faces Challenges Separating Narcos from Guerrillas

    Gildardo Rodríguez Herrera

    Authorities in Colombia have denied a drug trafficker's attempts to pass himself off as a demobilizing FARC guerrilla, but released a guerrilla wanted for drug trafficking in the United States. The contrasting cases highlight the difficulties Colombia faces in legally untangling the drug trade from the conflict, a process that if not handled carefully will provide ammunition to those seeking to undermine the peace process.

  • How Panama’s Criminal Landscape Has Changed Since the Days of Narco-Dictator Noriega

    Panama's Manuel Noriega jailed in the United States

    Deceased Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was said to have turned his country into one of the most emblematic examples of a "narco-state" in Latin American history, and his dealings with Colombia's biggest drug bosses laid the groundwork for Panama's role in the global drug trade for decades after his 1989 arrest by US troops. We explore why Panama remains a drug trafficking haven for the successors of the Colombian criminals that Noriega helped make rich.

  • Should Mexico Follow Colombia's Example in Combating Fuel Theft?

    Pemex engineers repairing a pipeline in Mexico

    Colombia's finance minister said Mexico should look to the South American country as an example to follow in the fight against fuel theft, but the statement raises questions about how successful Colombia's approach to the issue has really been.

  • What Can Bolivia Teach Post-Conflict Colombia about Coca Reduction?

    Coca eradicators in Bolivia

    A new report by an advocacy group based in Bolivia details how the Andean nation's failed experiences with forced coca eradication can be used as a lesson for Colombia, which is witnessing a surge in cocaine production amid the implementation of a peace deal with the FARC rebel group.  

  • Drug Seizures in Tumaco Make the 'Pacific Pearl' Colombia’s Cocaine Capital

    Tumaco is Colombia's top cocaine producer

    A huge percentage of Colombia's soaring cocaine production has apparently passed through a single municipality, Tumaco, over the first few months of year. What makes this region so strategic, and who has the biggest stake in its criminal bounty?

  • Trump Budget Plan Spells Trouble for LatAm Security Cooperation

    President Trump plans to slash foreign aid

    US President Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 is a clear demonstration of his security priorities and policy plans that will spark concern and anxiety among key strategic US partners in the country's efforts against organized crime in the Americas.

  • Conflict, Violence Continue to Drive Displacement in Latin America: Report

    Colombia now has the largest number of internally displaced people

    A newly released annual report on global internal displacement again highlights how crime and violence contribute to displacement and migration in Latin America, with Colombia ranking as the country with the largest share of the world's internally displaced.

  • Colombia Court Ruling Spells Trouble for FARC Peace Process

    Colombia's FARC are currently demobilizing

    A ruling by Colombia's Constitutional Court has created an opportunity for opponents of the country's peace process with the FARC to sabotage the implementation of the accords, potentially fueling dissent among the guerrilla ranks as well as violence and uncertainty in the underworld.

Investigations

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Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs.