From Colombia there is news of the latest feud over security issues between President Juan Manuel Santos and high ranking officials from the previous administration. RCN Radio reports that former Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo stated Santos has no leadership over the security forces and has undermined the ideals set by former President Alvaro Uribe. Restrepo also accused Santos of lying when he said that there were no more FARC camps in Venezuela. Restrepo’s statements come just over a month after allegations that he took part in a bogus demobilization of a group posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC).
- The Australian Crime Commission’s 2011 report states that Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have taken control of the cocaine market in that country. The report claims that these DTOs are the main supplier of the drug in Australia, and that they also managing money laundering operations there. El Diario de Chihuahua gives figures on the cost of one kilogram of cocaine as a little over $260,000 dollars, while the wholesale price in Colombia was $2,300 per kilo, according to the United Nations 2010 World Drug Report. This is a 113-fold mark-up. The news raises concerns not only about Australia stepping up as one of the world’s biggest cocaine consumers, but also about the ever-expanding reach of Mexican DTOs. Not only have they moved into Central America, and into Andean producing countries to control supply of the product, they are now asserting their presence in the consumer countries. This was seen earlier this week when the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) of the U.S. State Department issued an alert about Mexican DTOs presence in over 1,200 cities in that country.
- Tired of the ongoing violence in Ciudad Juarez, where more than 600 people have died so far this year, according to some figures, a group of graffiti artists have coined a new slang term for the city: “Warez.” El Diario reports that the word, which is composed of the words “war” and “Juarez,” can be seen written around the city. This could suggest a new spirit of protest amongst young residents of the troubled city. Juarez is one of the most dangerous places in the world due to the explosion of drug-related violence, as major drug trafficking organizations fight for control of this important “plaza.”