According to The Costa Rica Star Newspaper (www.news.co.cr), there are close ties between Mexican drug cartels and Colombian rebels.
The relationship between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group and Mexico’s drug cartels is rooted in shared interests in arms and drug trafficking, but not in the insurgents providing military training to the organized crime groups, experts told EFE.
“Where these groups can meet is in the illegal arms market, via contacts or for business reasons, but the issue of (weapons) training is a difficult one,” National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM, professor and national security specialist Javier Oliva said.
“It does not seem very viable to me that this kind of training has been provided, it would be more viable to explore the business relationship they might have, for example, in cocaine trafficking,” Ricardo Ravelo, a UNAM professor and researcher on defense matters, said.
The relationship was confirmed in December, when several drug traffickers with links to the FARC and Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel were arrested in Panama.
The experts discussed the relationship between the rebels and Mexican drug traffickers following the publication Sunday by the weekly Proceso of a story about the FARC training hitmen on the payrolls of Mexico’s Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel and “Los Cuinis” gangs in the Colombian jungle.
The gunmen were trained to use large-caliber weapons to take on the Mexican military, Proceso said, citing U.S. intelligence officials.
The officials said the total number of gunmen trained in Colombia was unknown, but they estimated that around 50 cartel members had received firearms instruction from the rebels.
Jalisco Nueva Generacion gunmen trained in Colombia downed a military helicopter on May 1 in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, killing nine people.
“It’s not enough for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to say this,” Oliva said, adding that the information could affect the peace process that the Colombian government and FARC started in 2012.
The experts discussed the current structure of Mexico’s illegal drug industry, noting that the arrests this year of several drug lords, such as Zetas cartel boss Omar Treviño and Caballeros Templarios leader Servando Gomez, had led to “fragmentation.”
The arrests followed the capture of Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman in February 2014.
“The original organizations are being weakened and more local ones are emerging,” Ravelo said.
“They do not run routes, but instead zones,” Oliva said, adding that criminals’ deaths “do not inhibit the violence or reduce the drug market.”
By Marti Quintana
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