Colombia claims hit against Sinaloa Cartel

Colombian authorities announced Dec. 19 the dismantling of a narco network linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, with seven arrested by the elite Technical Investigation Group (CTI) in the cities of CalĂ­, Palmira and Bogotá. Vehicles, “communications equipment” and four weapons were seized. The CTI said the ring smuggled cocaine, heroin and marijuana to Mexico from the southern port of Tumaco.” (Xinhua, El Pais, Cali, Dec. 19)

The Fourth Division of the Colombian army and the anti-kidnapping force GAULA are conducting a search for 10 campesinos allegedly abducted at a religious gathering by the FARC guerillas in the hamlet (vereda) of Arrayanes in Cubarral municipality of Meta department. The new abductions come as the government is attempting to negotiate a hostage deal with the FARC. The guerillas issued a statement Dec. 21 saying no hostages will be released until a general “humanitarian agreement” is reached, under which FARC fighters held by the government would also be liberated. At least 27 politicians and soldiers are kept hostage by the FARC and are considered “exchangeable” for imprisoned guerillas. Another 700 civilians are also said to be held by the guerillas. (Xinhua, Dec. 22)

Riots continue in Colombia related to crashing financial pyramid scams, which the government says are linked to money-laundering networks. On Dec. 23, protesters demanding the return of their absconded investments ransacked shops and torched court offices in La Hormiga, Putumayo department. (El Pais, Dec. 23)

See our last posts on Colombia, Mexico’s narco wars, and the econocataclysm

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  1. Colombia: indigenous resist armed abductions
    Another case of the FARC attempting—unsuccessfully, in this instance—to kidnap peasants comes from southern Cauca department, in this Nov. 27 statement from the Pioyá Indigenous Council, via Fellowship of Reconciliation‘s Colombia Peace News, December:

    Last night, the Nasa indigenous community, together with the Indigenous Guard rescued six officials from Jamabaló County and an Education Ministry representative who had been kidnapped by an illegal group on the road between Jambaló, Silvia and the city of Popayán. The seven were traveling in a mini-bus at 6 PM when they were intercepted by four hooded and armed men who identified themselves as members of the FARC.

    After intimidating them they were taken toward the Pioyá Indigenous Territory with purpose of taking them into the jungle. An hour later, the JambalĂł community learned of events and immediately called indigenous authorities, who quickly began operations in the area to rescue those kidnapped. When the kidnappers realized they were being pursued by the community, they had to separate in two groups: three guerrillas took a couple and the other group took the rest in the vehicle, at about 9 PM. The community continued in pursuit until they surrounded them, so that they were forced to abandon the captives. “The Indians are here, the Council is here, better to leave them,” the guerrillas said when they felt the community near, said Emilce Muñoz, one of those kidnapped.

    While this was happening, another group of men, women, youth and children, guided by the community’s radio station, followed the trail of the couple until they caught up with them at midnight. The guerrillas tried to intimidate the community by firing shot in the air, but the resistance of a civilian community with its words and thought was stronger, and they managed to rescue the last two captives. After the pursuit, the subversives left behind a revolver, now held by the Pioyá indigenous authorities.

    This is not the first time these events have occurred in indigenous territories, especially Pioyá, where the Nasa community has taken action to resist – the rescue of a Swiss citizen in 2003, rescue of helicopter using public funds in 2006, deactivation of anti-personnel mines in El Carmen settlement, eradication of marijuana this year, and now the rescue of seven kidnapped people.

    In a public act, the events [of November 26] were denounced and the confiscated weapon was destroyed as a rejection of all the armed groups that provoke imbalance in our communities. Because we don’t agree with an army that victimizes the civilian population with ‘false positives’ nor with guerrillas that say they are of the people while the attack the people’s rights.

    Further details from the Association of Cabildos of North Cauca (ACIN), Dec. 23

    See our last post on the struggle in Cauca.