Category Archives: War on drugs

Betancourt’s tin ear

What is wrong with Ingrid Betancourt? The most charitable explanation is that she is absolutely terrible at public relations. Her first act upon being rescued from six years in FARC captivity last year was to leave her faithful, long-suffering husband. Then she moved to France – her other nationality – and now she’s asking the Colombian [...]
Also posted in Colombia, Human Rights, Politics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

US warships headed to Costa Rica

Militaryless, democratic, non-conflict-having Costa Rica is the new front in the United States’ War on Inanimate Objects. The country’s  national assembly has given the OK for a veritable US invasion force to enter Costa Rican territory: 7,000 marines on 46 warships, including the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship the USS Makin Island, pictured. La Nación quotes a [...]
Also posted in Costa Rica, Politics | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Money laundering (get it?)

If you read one story today, let it be Michael Smith’s very long and very interesting story in Bloomberg on how Mexican drug traffickers launder money through US banks like Wachovia (now owned by Wells Fargo) and Bank of America. The piece is long and excellent enough to defy excerpting, but let’s give it a [...]
Also posted in Economy, Mexico | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gubernatorial candidate assassinated

Hitmen have assassinated the PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas State, Rodolfo Torre Cantú. Torre was gunned down along with six others at about 10:30 this morning on a highway on the way to a campaign event. Drug mafias are assumed to be responsible. [link]
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El Lobo’s ugly weapons collection

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office has posted on its web site irrefutable evidence that gold-plated AR-15s and diamond-studded pistol grips are not nearly as cool-looking as they sound. The deadly knick-knack collection is said to belong to Valencia Cartel leader El Lobo. [link]
Also posted in Mexico, Side notes | Leave a comment

Pecados de mi Padre

This looks like a fascinating movie: Pecados de mi Padre – Sins of my Father – purports to be a documentary on the life of Pablo Escobar’s son, Sebastián, but it also appears to have a healthy bit of good clean footage and storytelling about Pablo himself. However, I have to say that having read [...]
Also posted in Arts and Culture, Colombia, History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Coca soft drink goes on sale in Bolivia

A soft drink containing coca leaf extract is now on sale in Bolivia. The drink is totally non- coincidentally named “Coca Colla,” after the Colla indigenous people. The news seems a bit old, but for whatever reason it’s now making the rounds, and I’m posting this to see if someone will send me a six [...]
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Bomb goes off at U.S. consulate

Someone threw a bomb at the U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The incident took place at night, so no one was injured. The small device broke some glass. No word yet on what it was or who is taking responsibility. It’s the second recent attack on U.S. government personnel/installations after three people related [...]
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The AP has called the Juárez turf war, and the winner is: The Sinaloa Cartel, led by El Chapo. Along with a little the help of the Mexican army, Chapo’s people have taken the Juárez cartel out of business and now own that trafficking route. [link]
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Mexican authorities round up criminals

As if they didn’t have anything better to do, yesterday Mexico’s federal police arrested two foreign journalist for public urination. NPR journalist John Burnett and CBC journalist Bruce Livesey were on their way back to Juárez to continue covering the ceaseless killing and violence and lawlessness when they allegedly stopped to partake in some of [...]
Also posted in Mexico, Odd | Tagged , | 2 Comments
  • DAILY LINKS

    • The Nation has a long, wonky, wonderful article on Mexican maize cultivation, the effects of NAFTA, and the dangers of genetically-modified seeds. Author Peter Canby backs up his excellent writing with piles and piles of meticulous research. Not to be missed. [link, via SM] (Image from Joel Penner.)

    • Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas ended his hunger strike yesterday after 134 days. Farinas decided to end his strike after the Cuban government said it would release political prisoners rounded up in the "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003. Get well soon. [link]

    • The Uruguayan selection, which has made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup, just received a shipment of half a ton of fine cuts of beef for the mother of all asados in preparation for a contest against Ghana on Friday: "450 kilos of lomo, 200 of entrecot, 75 of vacío, 75 of colita de cuadril, 150 of ojo de bife and 50 kg of picaña." [link]

    • Hitmen have assassinated the PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas State, Rodolfo Torre Cantú. Torre was gunned down along with six others at about 10:30 this morning on a highway on the way to a campaign event. Drug mafias are assumed to be responsible. [link]

    • From the days when coups were something of a regional sport, new documents detail a famous British ballerina's role in a plot to topple the government of Panama. The plan was to use her yacht to gather men and arms, then "land somewhere and collect in the hills." It didn't work. [link]

    • Mexico's Attorney General's Office has posted on its web site irrefutable evidence that gold-plated AR-15s and diamond-studded pistol grips are not nearly as cool-looking as they sound. The deadly knick-knack collection is said to belong to Valencia Cartel leader El Lobo. [link]

    • Two Brazilian ranchers were sentenced to 30 years in prison apiece for ordering the killing of an environmentalist nun: "Prosecutors said the pair offered to pay a gunman $25,000 to kill the 73-year-old [Dorothy] Stang because she had prevented them from stealing a piece of land that the government had granted to a group of poor farmers." [link]


    • This video of a kidnapping and car chase in Mexico is notable mainly for the bad-assitude of the TV journalists who were on this like white on rice. Well done, gentlemen.

    • The Economist takes a peak at the Mockus phenomenon in Colombia: "His moustacheless beard gives him the air of a Baltic pastor... He is financing his campaign with a bank overdraft. His supporters rely on Facebook and make their own posters; street vendors sell unofficial campaign T-shirts." [link]

    • Some cruise lines will cease traveling to Antarctica after this cruise season, as a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil goes into effect next year. The ban came after a 2007 incident when a Gap Adventures ship got punctured by ice and sank, causing a mess. [link]