Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hugo Chavez, FARC and now.... AlQaida?

Gustavo Coronel is an excellent writer and he knows Venezuelans problem very well. You can check his blog at:
vdebate reporter
Hugo Chavez, FARC and now... Al Qaida?
Un Boeing 727, de Venezuela, llevaba cocaína a Mali.

A report in the UK Guardian speculates that the drug traffic passing through Mali seems to be more and more controlled by Al Qaida, possibly in association with the Colombian FARC. This is interesting, as the Boeing 727 carrying cocaine that recently landed and subsequently crashed on take-off in Mali was Venezuelan. This suggests the possibility that the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez could be linking forces with Al Qaida, in a similar manner to its already existing links with the FARC. Says the report (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/29/drugs-cocaine-africa-al-qaida) :
“Professor Stephen Ellis of Amsterdam's Free University, an expert on west Africa's drugs trade, said that several reports suggested that the airstrip was in a region controlled by the group known as "al-Qaida in the land of the Islamic Maghreb". Previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, it was responsible for a spate of car bombings in Algeria in 2007 that left dozens dead, including at least 11 UN staff.
"Until now, there is no evidence they have had a direct interest in the drug trade," said Ellis. "But if the airstrip was controlled by al-Qaida, it suggests there is direct contact between them and Latin American drug interests."
The Home Office estimates that 50% of the cocaine that enters the UK comes from west Africa. Two years ago the government put the figure at under 30%.
Like manufacturers taking advantage of cheaper labour by moving their plants abroad, the major Colombian drugs gangs have exploited west Africa's political instability, poorly funded law enforcement agencies, endemic corruption and porous borders. But a link with terrorist networks would add a new dimension.
It is not only al-Qaida that may be involved. A briefing prepared for the US Congress speculated that west Africa's substantial Lebanese trading community – strong supporters of Hezbollah – have been buying the drug from the paramilitary group Farc, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia”. .

By Gustavo Coronel

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