US boasts “final, fatal blow” to Cali cartel

Yeah, except the Cali cartel is old news. Its been dead for almost a decade, and Colombia’s still-booming narco trade has now been effectively taken over by the armed gangs which were the former enforcers for the cartels (in the case of the paramilitaries) or their rivals (in the case of the guerillas). The US-led struggle against the Cali and Medellin cartels in the ’90s was emblematic of the global War on Drugs, which history reveals as a sort of transition war between the Cold War (1945-1989) and the War on Terrorism (2001-?). The great thing about the Colombia war (from the perspective of US policy-makers) is that it now combines all three propaganda paradigms: a struggle against Communist terrorists funded by the drug trade. Some nearly non-news from AP, Sept. 27:

MIAMI — In what the U.S. government called ”the final, fatal blow” to the world’s biggest cocaine supplier, two Colombian brothers who helped found the infamous Cali cartel pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug trafficking.

They agreed to forfeit billions in tainted assets, and received what could amount to a life sentence.

Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, ages 67 and 63, were the highest-ranking of more than 300 drug traffickers extradited to this country since the United States and Colombia signed a new treaty in 1997.

The brothers also struck a deal with prosecutors to protect six of their relatives in Colombia from prosecution.

Twenty-eight family members will be permitted to keep some assets not tainted by drug money and could be removed from a Treasury Department list that has kept their accounts frozen.

”They sacrificed themselves for their family,” said David O. Markus, attorney for Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela.

The brothers’ pleas ”effectively signal the final, fatal blow to the powerful Cali cartel,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.

Miguel was known as ”The Master” for his inventiveness in finding ways to hide drugs. Gilberto’s nickname was ”The Chess Player” for his strategic thinking.

See our last post on Colombia.