This is the first Friday since October that program staff are (1) in Washington and (2) not preparing frantically for a trip or event. It’s nice to be back.
- The collapse of pyramid schemes in Colombia, and especially of DMG – which appears to have been more money-laundering operation than pyramid scheme – not only threatens President Ãlvaro Uribe’s prospects of getting re-elected to a third term in 2010. It may also mean a resurgence of coca cultivation in southern Colombian departments (especially Putumayo and CaquetÃ¡) where much of the population had become dependent on these “easy money” projects.
- Latin American drug lords are starting to take up residence in West African countries like Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Ghana, reports the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
- Excellent article by Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Kraul on re-armed or “emerging” paramilitary groups in the department of NariÃ±o in southwestern Colombia.
- CODHES, a prominent BogotÃ¡-based human rights NGO, claims that 2,009 people in Puerto GuzmÃ¡n, Putumayo, were forcibly displaced by aerial fumigation in their rural communities.
- Colombia’s Police have manually eradicated a record 91,742 hectares of coca so far this year.
- Interesting juxtaposition of columns on drug policy in today’s Wall Street Journal:
- Here is a charming video of the outgoing chief of Peru’s army telling a roomful of people that “Chileans who enter will not exit, and if they do, they’ll do so in a coffin.”
- The top officer in the U.S. Navy visited Chile this week.
- What did Panama do to deserve visits from a Russian warship and Condoleezza Rice within the same few-day stretch?
- For the first time since its annual poll began in 1991, a majority of Miami’s Cuban-American community favored lifting the U.S. embargo of Cuba.
- U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield likes baseball, Cambio magazine reveals.