UN CIRCULO DEMASIADO PEQUEÑO

The Washington Times
August 21, 2001
DEA boosts its role in Paraguay
Jack Sweeney


Since January, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has doubled the size of its office in Paraguay's capital, Asuncion.
U.S. Special Forces are training Paraguayan soldiers in anti-drug operations that closely resemble counterinsurgency operations, while hundreds of U.S. soldiers recently spent four months in Paraguay on an official "training exercise" in an area heavily used by Colombian, Brazilian and Bolivian drug traffickers.
The moves are part of a U.S. effort to expand its counterdrug, intelligence and military presence in Paraguay, an increasingly lawless state with a fragile economy, wobbly democratic institutions and deeply ingrained corruption.
But Washington will not be able to stop the spread of international criminal groups in Paraguay and may face increased attacks not only from criminal gangs, but also from Arab extremists living in Paraguay, if
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates into all-out war. Paraguay has long been a home to Arabs linked to the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad militias.
The goal of the Bush administration is to build an effective surveillance and interdiction fire wall across a major southern route in Paraguay that Colombian and Bolivian drug traffickers use to export cocaine to the United States and Europe. But the U.S. effort comes as Paraguay's political institutions are increasingly at risk of being overwhelmed by powerful international criminal organizations.
Crime syndicates from Colombia, Brazil, China, Lebanon, Italy, Russia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana are known to be operating in Paraguay. Many of these groups are believed to be associated with corrupt Paraguayan business executives, politicians and military officers tied to the ruling party, according to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence sources.
Paraguay has been a democracy in theory since Gen. Alfredo Stroessner's 35-year military dictatorship was toppled in a 1989 coup led by then-army chief Gen.
Lino Oviedo. But the same political party that backed Gen. Stroessner, the Colorado Party, continues to rule Paraguay today.
The past 12 years have been the longest period of civilian rule in Paraguay's 190-year history. But economic growth has not improved under democracy, and political instability and corruption have intensified.
Since 1989, there have been four failed coup attempts against Paraguay's civilian governments, including another led by Gen. Oviedo in 1996. He has been a central protagonist in bloody internal power struggles within the Colorado Party that threaten the country's weak political institutions and that could trigger a fifth
military coup attempt at any time. He is now under house arrest in Brazil and is resisting efforts to extradite him to stand trial in the assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argana in 1998.
Gen. Oviedo could likely expect more lenient treatment on his return to Paraguay if Vice President Julio Cesar Franco succeeds in forcing out unpopular and ineffectual President Luis Gonzalez Macchi and installing himself as the country's leader.
Mr. Franco was elected with the backing of Oviedo supporters in a breakaway faction of the Colorado Party.
Meanwhile, Brazil's government is anxious to be rid of Gen. Oviedo because of his suspected involvement in drug trafficking and other organized criminal enterprises, as well as his reported leadership of corrupt military officials.
Over the past decade, Paraguay's entrance into the global economy has attracted international criminal syndicates and terrori st organizations that view the country as a safe location from which to conduct illegal operations.
As a result, Paraguay today is a strategic South American hub for international drug trafficking, arms smuggling, money laundering and counterfeiting, among other crimes. Most of the crimes take place in Ciudad del Este, a lawless city of between 150,000 and 300,000 residents located at the confluence of Paraguay's borders with Argentina and Brazil, in an area called the triple frontier. Ciudad del Este is also a regional center for drug trafficking and arms smuggling.
The U.S. State Department estimates that Paraguay moves 10 metric tons of cocaine annually to Europe and the United States. Other estimates, however, range up to 40 metric tons annually.
Paraguay also produces some of the highest-grade marijuana on the continent and exports most of it to Brazil, which now ranks as the l argest consumer market in Latin America for cocaine, heroin, marijuana and so-called "club drugs" like Ecstasy.
Criminal gangs in Paraguay also have ties to Colombia's largest rebel group. Paraguayan officials arrested a Colombian citizen in Ciudad del Este last year as he tried to arrange a cocaine-for-weapons swap on behalf of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Links between crime syndicates in Ciudad del Este and the FARC date from the mid-1990s at least, when Gen. Oviedo protected Brazilian drug trafficker Fernandinho Beira Mar, who was captured in southern Colombia last April while accompanied by FARC rebels.
In addition to the prevalence of international gangs, the Bush administration also has reason to be concerned about the longtime presence in Paraguay of Arabs linked to Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Last year, Paraguayan officials arrested a Lebanese national in Ciudad del Este who was subsequently linked to a Hezbollah cell believed to have bombed Israel's embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina in 1992 and 1994.
In April, the State Department warned that the governments of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina are not capable of preventing Islamic terrorist actions that could originate from Ciudad del Este. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates into all-out war, these groups could start attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets in South America.
The growing U.S. security presence in Paraguay may provide U.S. officials with more timely intelligence about drug trafficking, terrorist activities and other illegal activity in that country. But it won't safeguard Paraguay's economy and political institutions from being hijacked by international crime syndicates.
As Paraguay becomes increasingly lawless, organized criminal gangs and terrorists will find it easier to operate with impunity and will pose a growing threat to regional stability.
Jack Sweeney is a senior analyst at STRATFOR, the global intelligence company.

Miércoles, 08 de mayo de 2002 (BBC)
Los nexos entre las FARC y Montesinos


El Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad de Colombia, el DAS, dio a conocer el arresto de un colombiano acusado de introducir 10.000 fusiles a Colombia destinados a la guerrilla.
Luis Humberto Sánchez, quien fue detenido por la policía secreta colombiana el 1 de mayo, es considerado el contacto entre las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, las FARC y la organización peruana Aybar Cancho, a la cual está vinculado el ex asesor de inteligencia del Perú, Vladimiro Montesino.
Las investigaciones preliminares del DAS revelan que Sánchez, a través de la organización Aybar Cancho, habría logrado negociar, acompañar y dirigir, por orden de Montesinos, la entrega de 60.000 fusiles AK-47 comprados al gobierno de Jordania.
El arsenal, valorado en 11,5 millones de dólares, estaba dirigido a las FARC, la guerrilla activa más antigua y numerosa del continente.
Los rebeldes izquierdistas quedaron en posesión de las armas a finales de 2000, cuando fueron arrojadas en paracaídas desde aviones en una zona selvática del suroriente colombiano, limítrofe con Brasil y Venezuela.

El caso de los fusiles
El DAS considera que unas 10.000 armas entraron al país en cuatro vuelos, de 2.500 fusiles cada uno, a través de una negociación que se habría hecho a través de tres contratos.
El director del organismo secreto, Coronel Germán Jaramillo, calificó este como el mayor contrabando de armas ingresado a Colombia, que sufre una guerra interna de 38 años.
Jaramillo explicó que el dinero para la compra del arsenal fue entregado por el capo brasileño de las drogas Fernandinho Beira Mar, capturado por las autoridades colombianas en abril de 2001, a Tomás Medina, uno de los más aguerridos y temerosos jefes de las rebeldes FARC.
Por su parte Medina, alias "el Negro Acacio", pagó los 11,5 millones de dólares a través de Sánchez y a cambio de la financiación del arsenal le entregó a Fernandinho cocaína.
Sánchez, quien se hacía pasar por un comerciante, fue capturado después de un seguimiento realizado por el DAS durante 20 meses en la ciudad de Neiva, capital del suroccidental departamento del Huila.
Los fusiles pasaron más tarde a manos de Jorge Briceño, alias "El Mono Jojoy", responsable militar de las guerrillas de las FARC.

Con ayuda de Montesinos
La policía secreta colombiana, quien vigiló por años los movimientos de Sánchez, asegura que éste viajó al menos diez veces a Perú, donde tuvo contactos con los hermanos Luis Frank y José Luis Aybar Cancho, reconocidos por haber sido los delegados de Montesinos para comprar las armas a Jordania.
De los 60.000 fusiles adquiridos, solo 10.000 entraron a Colombia. La entrega de las 50.000 armas restantes se impidió ya que el DAS descubrió el procedimiento que desde Perú se realizaría a través de la organización Aybar
Cancho.
Por este contrabando de armas, la Fiscalía General de Colombia ha emitido más de treinta órdenes de captura de guerrilleros, entre ellos "El Negro Acacio", y ciudadanos de Ucrania, Rusia, Francia y Perú, gracias a la colaboración de la organización Internacional de Policía Criminal (Interpol).
La captura de Sánchez se produjo luego de que agentes del DAS viajaran al Perú en donde pudieron interrogar a Vladimiro Montesinos, quien dio pistas sobre el enlace con las FARC en Colombia.
Según detectives del DAS, fue el mismo Montesinos quien reveló que el capturado negoció directamente los 60.000 fusiles y además coordinó el lanzamiento del arsenal, desde aviones peruanos, en las selvas colombianas.


23 de abril de 2001

Beira-Mar confessa que pagava US$ 10 mi por mês às Farc

Bogotá - Preso no último sábado, o traficante Luiz Fernando da Costa, o Fernandinho Beira-Mar, confessou que pagava cerca de US$ 10 milhões por mês às Forças Armadas Revolucionárias da Colômbia (Farc) pela cocaína produzida em território dominado pela guerrilha.
O procurador-geral da República, Alfonso Gomes Mendez, disse nesta segunda-feira que a Colômbia pode deportar Beira-Mar até o fim da semana.
O traficante passou nesta segunda-feira por nova sessão de interrogatório, iniciada ao meio-dia e encerrada cerca de sete horas depois. "Amanhã vamos continuar ouvindo o senhor Costa e a decisão só será tomada ao final do depoimento", informou Mendez.
O delegado César Nunes, adido da Polícia Federal na Colômbia, disse que, caso ocorra a deportação, Beira-Mar será entregue a autoridades brasileiras em Bogotá ou Tabatinga (AM) - onde um avião da Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) está de prontidão. Nunes, um outro delegado e quatro agentes serão responsáveis pela escolta do traficante até Brasília.
Ao ser detido, Beira-Mar disse que estava na Colômbia como criador de gado.
Interrogado, porém, ele confessou ao ministro da Defesa, Luis Fernando Ramírez, que comprava cerca de 200 toneladas de cocaína das Farc por ano, cerca de um terço da produção do país.
O brasileiro disse que entregava às Farc US$ 500 por quilo de cocaína recebido e US$ 15 mil por vôo de avião feito na região controlada pela guerrilha. Ele afirmou que em outras ocasiões pagava aos guerrilheiros em armas.
O chefe das Forças Armadas, general Fernando Tapias, revelou que Beira-Mar entregou à guerrilha 10 mil armas e 3 milhões de balas.
O criminoso também admitiu envolvimento com o contrabando de 10 mil fuzis AK-47 recebidos pelos rebeldes no ano passado. O ex-chefe do Serviço de Inteligência do Peru, Vladimiro Montesinos, teria participado da transação.
O jornal Nuevo Herald, de Miami, informou hoje que os Estados Unidos entraram na disputa pela extradição de Beira-Mar. O próprio criminoso teria revelado em interrogatório seu desejo de ser julgado por tribunais norte-americanos. "Ele disse que preferia ser levado aos Estados Unidos porque, caso volte ao Brasil, terá de delatar meio país", disse um oficial.

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