US ambassador Philip Goldberg better not be as gullible as his predecessor William Brownfield and consider Colombia’s government may be aligned with the mafia, not Washington DC.
The US embassy has been and could be a major force for good especially when it comes to combating drug trafficking.
It cannot, however, afford to be naive, complacent or arrogant when confronting a mafia with an estimated budget 10 times that of the entire Drug Enforcement Agency.
This mafia has murdered prosecutors, presidential candidates and justice ministers like the father of Senator Rodrigo Lara who informed the US embassy about former President Alvaro Uribe‘s ties to the mafia in 2009.
Brownfield told the State Department this claim was “far-fetched” while Lara had evidence indicating that the former president’s family was involved in the assassination of his father by the Medellin cartel when Lara Sr. was justice minister.
To add insult to injury, former US President George W Bush granted a Medal of Freedom to a former Medellin Cartel associate and appointed the former ambassador director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Cocaine production in Colombia, according to the White House, broke records last year.
For the sake of Colombia and our common purpose to drastically and permanently reduce drug trafficking, I hope the ambassador won’t let himself be fooled twice by the same crooks who I was told embezzled money from his “Plan Colombia.”
President Ivan Duque may talk the talk that pleases DC ears, but only a fool would believe he is a US ally. Thick files of evidence indicate he’s a mafia puppet.
Twenty days before his death, for example, Lara was inquiring about the Uribe family helicopter that was found in “Tranquilandia,” an enormous cocaine factory of the Medellin Cartel.
Thirty-six years later, I see the same dark forces that assassinated the minister in the government, in Congress, and in the security forces.
These dark forces were left in peace by Brownfield, which Goldberg may not allow and none of us can afford.
To prevent assassinations like those of the former justice minister and effectively reduce cocaine production, firm US support for the so-called Commission for Security Guarantees is elementary.
This commission’s explicit purpose is to dismantle these “dark forces” and create the security guarantees that are necessary to effectively reduce cocaine production and disrupt distribution.
Duque’s refusal to convoke this commission should raise suspicion as well as his government’s inaction to facilitate both crop substitution and aerial fumigation.
If you examine Colombia’s government and ruling party, it should become evident Lara Jr was right when he told the embassy that “a much more subtle Medellin Cartel is the true ‘power behind the throne’ of the Uribe administration.”
You can’t fight drug trafficking with narco associates
Uribe grew up with the Ochoa crime family that founded the Medellin Cartel. His late brother had two children with extradited drug trafficker Dolly Cifuentes, whose brother Alex would later become El Chapo’s right-hand man.
The father of Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo was publicly praised by Pablo Escobar for his support. The minister in charge of counternarcotics was mayor of Cali when the Cali Cartel ran the mayor’s office.
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington DC, Francisco Santos, was friends with late money launderer Ñeñe Hernandez, not to mention the Gnecco crime family.
Former presidential adviser and current Senator Jose Obdulio Gaviria is Escobar’s cousin. His brother Jose has had ties to the Oficina de Envigado. The wealth of Senator Paola Holguin comes from Medellin Cartel money laundering.
So, how Brownfield could claim Lara’s explanation was “far-fetched” after receiving death threats that allegedly were the responsibility of Escobar’s cousin is a mystery to me.
Reducing cocaine production
No foreign government should allow some smooth-talking puppet of the mafia to take them for a ride, especially not now when drug trafficking is peaking.
This is not solely the problem of the US government, but a global one as much of the cocaine that is being produced is trafficked to new markets like South America, Africa and Asia.
A multilateral and multidimensional alliance is urgently necessary as different governments are now pursuing counternarcotics strategies that cancel each other out. Only a fool would rely on Bogota.
The US has already announced it would step up efforts to curb corruption in Colombia, which I believe is elementary to make the Colombian state a reliable partner.
The US and Europe must coordinate and align strategies in cooperation with Colombian civil society in order to create the necessary force to confront a common, but formidable enemy that I believe has usurped the state.
Considering the fact that the US can’t support the peace process’ crop substitution program while the FARC is still on their terror list, the EU and the UN should step up efforts on this front.
This in turn would create the legal conditions that allows the US to push aerial fumigation, which I believe is necessary in area with industrialized coca cultivation.
All should facilitate optimized coordination between agencies like the DEA and Interpol to root out the “dark forces” operating from within the State, specifically from within the Duque administration and the 2nd, 3rd and 7th Division of the Colombian military.
US intelligence agencies may want to have a look into the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, whose bogus drug trafficking charges have led to the misallocation of DEA resources in apparent collusion with one of Colombia’s biggest mafia figures, former chief prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez.