Saturday, April 13

Colombia responds to the drug revolt by promising more extraditions to the US

  • The Clan del Golfo, the main drug gang, challenges the Government with violent actions that have paralyzed almost 180 municipalities

  • The actions, the specialists maintain, were an example of the power of drug trafficking, underestimated by the Executive

the president of Colombia, Ivan Dukepromised new extraditions to USA of some chiefs The Clan of the Gulfin response to the decision of the most important of the bands of drug traffickers to promote an armed strike in 11 departments of the country, where at least 12 people have died and significant economic damage has been reported. “‘Gonzalito’, ‘Siopas’ and ‘Chiquito Malo’ will also fall in the short term. The men and women of our Public Force are stronger than ever,” said Duque.

The so-called Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), a gang derived from the far-right paramilitary activities of previous decades, have challenged the Government with actions of violence and intimidation of civilian populations in response to the sending to the US of its main leadership, Dairo Antonio Usugaalias Otoniel, who is being tried by a court in New York.

The threats from the AGC have been felt in almost 180 municipalities, some of them completely paralyzed, through more than 300 actions that have included ambushes of security forces, burning of buses and an order to close businesses and schools. The image disclosed in the media of a man bound hand and foot who receives a beating from two thugs for refusing to abide by the curfew summed up the effects on the population of what has happened since last Thursday.

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The forceful measure of the AGC must end this Tuesday night, but its aftermath will be the subject of a profound political debate in the midst of the electoral campaign with a view to the elections on May 29. Gustavo Petrothe candidate of the left-wing coalition Historical Pact, leads the polls, followed by the right-wing candidate Federico Gutierrez.

The Ministry of Defense has assured that only three civilians and two policemen have lost their lives during these actions that began on May 6. The Ombudsman’s Office multiplies that number by four the number of fatalities. The Secretary of Government of the northeastern department of Antioquia, Luis Fernando Suárez, demanded from the national authorities a Greater presence of the uniformed to deal with drug traffickers.

A show of power

“After the capture of Othniel Not only have there been more than 300 arrests, we have managed to search assets and property belonging to this organization and have seized more than 60 tons of hydrochloride. cocaine. We will continue to hit all its territorial structures,” Duque boasted.

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Different political analysts are far from sharing the presidential enthusiasm. They maintain that the blockade achieved by these armed groups, which reached its most dramatic this weekend, was a clear display of the power of the AGC. That contradicts Bogotá’s idea about the real presence of drug trafficking in those regions. The Gulf Clan, different media outlets agree, it is far from being a mere criminal stronghold or on the verge of the final blow by the State. Strictly speaking, the police themselves acknowledge that this gang heir to paramilitarism is made up of at least 3,800 people.

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Alfredo Molano Jimeno, columnist for the Bogotá newspaper The viewerpointed out in this regard that the armed strike “brought the country back to the years in which paramilitarism co-ruled“. The response to Otoniel’s extradition “was a show of forceful power.” For Molano Jimeno, Duque does not fully realize that it has happened. Colombians have also been able to verify that “the paramilitary project is not dead” because “his force today is greater” than Carlos Castaño himself ever dreamed of, who was head of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a federation of far-right paramilitary groups from all over the country.

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