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News/Analysis

Colombia’s Peace Process and the Urabeños Exit Strategy, InSight Crime, 27 February, 2015

News that the captured “political chief” of theUrabeños had been seeking a peaceprocess with the Colombian government is the latest sign that Colombia‘s leading criminal network is planning a negotiated exit strategy. But with only the thinnest of political facades covering their criminal activities, will the government entertain such an idea? Read full story

Violence Persists in Colombia Port City Despite Military Surge, InSight Crime, 2 February 2015

The Colombian port city of Buenaventura is once again on high alert after the discovery of clandestine graves and dismembered bodies, raising questions as to whether last year’s militarization of the city has had any lasting impact. Read full story

Valle Del Cauca: A War too Far for the Urabeños? InSight Crime, 1 April 2014

The department of Valle del Cauca has become Colombia’s bloodiest drug war battleground as the country’s most powerful criminal organization, theUrabeños, push to secure trafficking routes in the heartland of their enemies. However, with the war burning money and manpower for three years and no end to the violence in sight, the drug trafficking prize of the south Pacific could prove the end of the line for the Urabeños’ advance. Read full story

Have Mexico Cartels Seized Control of Spain Drug Trafficking, InSight Crime, 18 March, 2014

Three Mexican cartels are reportedly competing for control of the cocaine trade in Spain, although there are few signs they have successfully displaced the longstanding networks from Colombia as the main operators in this key strategic territory for drug trafficking in Europe. Read full story

Golden Opportunity as Colombia Peace Talks Turn to Drug Trade, InSight Crime, 2 December 2013

Peace talks between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government have turned to the issue of drug trafficking, representing a historic opportunity to tackle the illegal narcotics trade, although one fraught with obstacles to both striking and implementing an agreement. Read full story

DEA Report Shows US Drug Market Changing, InSight Crime, 27 November, 2013

The US Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual report charts evolving market forces in the supply and demand of narcotics, with cocaine imports to the United States falling even as Mexican cartels switch operations towards trafficking more methamphetamine and heroin. Read full story

Last Rites for Guatemala’s Anti-Impunity Crusaders CICIG?, InSight Crime, 9 September, 2013

Guatemala’s international anti-impunity body CICIG is now entering its final months of existence under the new leadership of a veteran Colombian investigator, but with the commission’s many enemies closing in, questions remain over what he will be able to achieve. Read full story

Saga of Narco-Playboy Shows Weaknesses in Colombia’s Prison System, InSight Crime, 23 July, 2013

The trail of violence and corruption blazed through Colombia’s prison system by a now-extradited drug trafficker displays the weaknesses of an institution that is trapped between bullets and bribes, and could now be facing dissolution. Read full story.

BACRIM Return to Paramilitary Roots in Colombia Land Battle, InSight Crime, 19 June, 2013

An emblematic land restitution campaign in north Colombia illustrates how in some parts of the country, the BACRIM continue to act as a private army for business interests with deep ties to Colombia’s paramilitary movement. Read full story.

15 Years of Blood, Vengeance: The Norte Del Valle Feud Continues, InSight Crime, 11 June, 2013

The bitter vendetta that split Colombia’s Norte Del Valle Cartel has now claimed its third generation of victims, and continues to play out as the Rastrojosbattle the Urabeños. Read full story.

BACRIM Turn to Landmines in Colombia, InSight Crime, 7 June, 2013

Colombia’s criminal hybrid groups, known as BACRIM, are reportedly using landmines to protect their criminal interests in north Colombia, marking a change in their military tactics that has worrying long-term implications. Read full story

Growing Local Drug Market Feeds Colombia’s Underworld, InSight Crime, 29 May, 2013

Police say that one fifth of the cocaine produced in Colombia is now sold on the domestic market, highlighting what provoked Colombia’s government to declare “total war” on an increasingly important source of criminal revenue — micro-trafficking. Read full story

OAS Report Charts Drug Policy Scenarios, InSight Crime, 23 May, 2013

The newly published OAS report “Drugs in the Americas” not only marks a step towards deepening the debate on global drug policy, it also offers a glimpse of what effects a drug war paradigm shift could have on organized crime. Read full story.

Why Has the Italian Mafia Returned to Colombia?, InSight Crime, 16 May, 2013

A spate of recent arrests suggests the Italian mafia may be making a comeback in Colombia, where the fractured criminal landscape makes it easier for them to exert control over the drug trade. Read full story

UN Details How Cheap Cocaine Base Plagues South America, InSight Crime, 3 May, 2013

A new United Nations report into the use and sale of cocaine base in Peru traces the rise of a drug that has blighted communities around South America, but has become a boon to drug traffickers and criminal groups. Read full story

ELN: Imminent Peace Talks with the Government? InSight Crime, 28 April, 2013

Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, the ELN, may soon begin peace talks with the government, perhaps signalling an end to its ideological war, but creating further uncertainty in the world of organized crime. Read full story

Is Paraguay Heading for a Narco-President? InSight Crime, 19 April, 2013

On April 21 Paraguay votes for a new president and, if opinion polls are to be believed, a man thought to be one of the country’s leading money launderers, as well as a DEA target, may get the top job. Read full story.

Ecuador Bulk Cash Smuggling Reflects New Laundering Trend, InSight Crime, 11 April 2013

Ecuador has witnessed a dramatic rise in bulk cash smuggling over the last five years, reflecting evolutions in criminal groups’ money laundering and trafficking practices away from established financial institutions. Read full story.

Vigilante Standoff Highlights Mexico Security Dilema, InSight Crime, 22 March, 2013

In the state of Michoacan, one of Mexico’s rapidly proliferating vigilante self-defense groups has become embroiled in a tense confrontation with the authorities, highlighting many of the issues surrounding the rise of these new armed actors. Read full story.

Neo-Paramilitary Groups Consolidating in Colombia: Report, InSight Crime, 13 March 2013

The Colombian government has failed to properly assess the threat posed by the rise of two “neo-paramilitary cartels,” which now aim to control every level of criminal activity in Colombia, according to a new report by a Bogota think tank. Read full story

Arrests May Shake Up Urabenos War in Caribbean, InSight Crime, 26 February, 2013,

The latest in a series of arrests targeting emergent criminal organization the Giraldos may yet tip the balance of the conflict along Colombia‘s Caribbean coast, where the country’s dominant criminal force, theUrabeños, are facing serious challenges to their authority. Read full story

The View from here – Colombia: Born in bloodshed but living in hope, Times Education Supplement, 7 December 2012

In northern Colombia, both the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado and the unique education system it has developed have their roots in tragedy. Read full story

The Faltering Firewall of John McAfee: Paranoia Pushes a Pioneer Deeper into the Dark Side, Nearshore Americas, 13t November 2012,

Antivirus guru and celebrated internet entrepreneur John McAfee has gone into hiding in Belize after escaping from police looking to question him over the murder of an American ex-pat. Read full story.

Colombia peace talks off to touchy start, Miami Herald, 18 October 2012

The nation’s largest guerrilla group and government officials formally launched peace talks Thursday in an event that underscored deep divides even as it held the promise of bringing an end to the hemisphere’s longest civil conflict. Read full story

Griselda Blanco: Life and death of a cocaine queen, Miami Herald, 4 September 2012

Griselda Blanco’s story was often told in numbers: she turned tricks at 14, and moved 300 kilos of cocaine a month in her 40s. Read full story

Call for peace as teachers face threats on their lives, Times Education Supplement, 13 January 2012

On 20 June last year, Alejandro Jose Penata Lopez disappeared after leaving the school where he worked in the region of Cordoba in northern Colombia. His body was found in a nearby village. He had been tortured and then hanged with barbed wire. Read full story

Senator demands UN expel Colombia’s Agros from carbon trading scheme, Colombia Reports, 26 October 2011

Senator Ivan Cepeda has asked the UN Secretary General to expel Colombian cement company Argos from the UN’s carbon trading scheme over allegations it is using land stolen from displaced people. Read full story

Oil worker protests could resume if talks fail: Union, Colombia Reports, 14 October 2011

Colmbian oil workers union USO have warned that Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales could see a repeat of last September’s protests that brought production grinding to a halt if the company pull out of negotiations with contracted workers next week. Read full story

Afro-Colombians call for revision of Victims Law, Colombia Reports, 12 October 2011

Afro-Colombian organizations asked for revisions to recently passed legislation on compensating war victims Wednesday, claiming that the government did not properly consult communities and did not take into account their specific needs. Read full story

1 killed in Cali, skirmishes in Bogota as students protest education reforms, Colombia Reports, 12 October 2011

One protester has been killed in Cali, while riot police clashed with protesters in Bogota on Wednesday in the latest protests against higher education reforms. Read full story

Colombian workers, students hit streets in nationwide protests, Colombia Reports, 7 October 2011

Tens of thousands of striking workers were joined by students in marching through the streets of cities across Colombia to demand the right to unionize, public health care and education and an end to labor contracting. Read full story

Medellin mayor candidate accused of paramilitary ties, Colombia Reports, 6 October 2011

Medellin mayor candidate Luis Perez has been rocked by allegations that he has been using paramilitary groups and criminal gangs in his election campaigns. Read full story

Union accuses govt. of broken promises ahead of strike, Colombia Reports, 6 October 2011

Colombia’s main public sector union has accused the government of failing to uphold labor agreements and not respecting workers’ right to organize, as tens of thousands of workers prepare for a nationwide strike on Friday. Read full story

Communities call for a popular movement to demand rural reform, Colombia Reports, 5 October 2011

Representatives of rural communities have called for the formation of a “great, popular social movement” to demand rural reform in Colombia following the four-day Congress on Land, Territory and Sovereignty. Read full story

NGOs call on Santos to live up to human rights promises, Colombia Reports, 30 September 2011

An NGO report into Juan Manuel Santos’ first year as president of Colombia has praised the government for its change in rhetoric and policy but criticized it for failing to improve the situation on the ground. Read full story

West Colombia coca fumigation suspended after protests, Colombia Reports, 29 September 2011

Authorities have suspended the fumigation of coca plantations in west Colombia following days of community protests. Read full story

Colombia rural reform needs more state intervention: UNDP, Colombia Reports, 28 September 2011

A leading United Nations Development Program (UNDP) figure has called for the government to change its economic focus from big business to the public good to reform rural Colombia. Read full story

US flower firm denies workers are on strike, Colombia Reports, 26 September 2011

American flower firm Falcom Farms on Monday denied union claims that over 200 workers in southwest Colombia workers are on strike over back pay and accused the workers’ union of “creating unrest.” Read full story

‘Paramilitaries preparing to attack north Colombia humanitarian zone’, Colombia Reports, 23 September 2011

Paramilitary forces have been mobilizing to launch an assault on communities in humanitarian zones in northern Colombia, according to community representatives. Read full story

Violence escalates in Colombia oil workers protests, Colombia Reports, 20 September 2011

Escalating violence in central Colombia has left several police and workers injured as protests against oil company Pacific Rubiales spiral out of control. Read full story

US funded Afro-Colombian caucus dominated by criminal politicians: Wikileaks, Colombia Reports, 15 September 2011

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spent over half a million dollars funding an Afro-Colombian caucus dominated by politicians accused of ties to illegal armed groups or of corruption, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. Read full story

UN launches campaign to protect Colombia’s endangered indigenous tribes, Colombia Reports, 31 August 2011

The UN has launched a campaign to protect Colombian indigenous tribes that are in danger of being wiped out by conflict, drug production and agro-business. Read full story

Election fraud and violence on the rise in Colombia, Colombia Reports, 17 August 2011

There has been a massive increase in violence and electoral fraud in the build up to Colombia‘s local elections in October, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE). Read full story

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