The weekly news magazine, Semana, reported this weekend on the role of the Israelis in training Colombia’s military, particularly in the targeting of senior Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) rebel commanders. Using cables published by WikiLeaks, Semana highlighted the close cooperation with arms (Colombian produces Israeli Galil rifles under license) and how the government hired an Israeli firm, Global CST, to conduct a strategic evaluation of the threat presented by the rebels in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
- Bolivia’s La Razon has more on General Rene Sanabria (pictured above), a highly decorated police commander arrested in Panama in February and extradited to the U.S. for drug trafficking. His arrest provoked disbelief in the Bolivian government and armed forces, as his story of overcoming poverty to climb to the highest ranks of the police was seen as an example to all. He is being charged in connection with more than 14 drug shipments smuggled into the U.S. comprising almost five tons of cocaine.
- El Pais sought to decipher the figures on U.S. deployment of law enforcement agents in Mexico. These figures are classified. The numbers cited are that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has at least 60 agents in Mexico; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which had an agent killed last month, has 40; the U.S. Marshal’s Service has 20; and the Bureau of Arms, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has 18. The article states that these numbers are continuing to rise. The story comes as the debate around U.S. role in that country heats up.
- Colombian police seized 1,450 historical artifacts in Bogota, El Espectador reported. While there were no arrests, the prehispanic pieces were believed destined for international collectors and were being stored in three warehouses in the capital in preparation for shipping abroad. With all the attention on drug smuggling, that of antiquities gets little police attention, but the scale of the problems is large, involving not only prehispanic artifacts but religious art stolen from churches across the country.