Saturday, March 19, 2005

Colombia

From the Guardian, 9 July 2003:

http://cocaine.org/colombia/

"Human rights organisations have long accused the Colombian security forces of backing the rightwing militias responsible for murders, massacres and drug smuggling."

President Uribe of Colombia:

"As head of the civil aviation authority in the early 1980s he was accused of offences in connection with granting air strip and pilots' licences. He was cleared but later his deputy was jailed for five years for accepting campaign money from the Cali cocaine cartel.

"Then, as mayor of Medellin, the drug barons' 'sanctuary', he allegedly accepted funds from the notorious trafficker Pablo Escobar for two urban regeneration schemes."

"His security advisers General Rito Alejo De Rio, dismissed from the army in 1999, and Pedro Juan Moreno, his former chief of staff in Antioquia, have been accused of connections with the paramilitaries.

"In 1997 and 1998 the US customs seized three shipments of potassium permanganate, essential in the manufacture of cocaine, bought by Mr Moreno's company GMP Productos Quimicos. The Colombian police and the US drug enforcement administration believed that many of GMP's sales invoices were fraudulent.

"In 2000 the DEA confirmed the seizures and concluded that there was "ample evidence" that the chemical might be diverted for illicit use. Mr Moreno insisted that it was for innocent purposes."

Despite these difficulties Mr Uribe won the election with a 53% landslide.

"He won the confidence of Mr Blair when he visited London as president-elect last July."

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