Flights to nowhere? Or Drug Flow Through Venezuela?

July 27, 2012

You have to like this map in an article today in the New York Times showing flights between Central America and the Caribbean that go to the neverland between Apure State in Venezuela and Colombia.Note how clearly the flights are planned to be in international waters and Venezuelan airspace, avoiding Colombian one, where they may be intercepted or tracked.

The Venezuelan Government always says these are baseless accusations. What will they say now, that these are fishermen going to fish for pavones in that area?

The sad truth is that this is another legacy of the Chavez Government which claims to be fighting drug trafficking while not doing much about it.

Drug money can be one of the worst influences in a country’s life.

And they still say it is a revolution..

138 Responses to “Flights to nowhere? Or Drug Flow Through Venezuela?”

  1. Kepler Says:

    OK, I don’t doubt Chavismo is up to the top in this. Still: what are those flight lines supposed to mean? I suppose it’s flights from Venezuelan ground that are suspicious and going elsewhere, right? OK…how does the same thing look for Colombia?
    Does Venezuela have 24% and the rest have all the rest evenly distributed?
    Is there a country with a similar share or not?
    Sorry, but this is not neatly researched.

  2. moctavio Says:

    Venezuela denies that this is happening and it continues to happen. The path is such that they avoid Colombian airspace. yes, there is traffic also in Colombia, but that country does follow airplanes that break their air space unannounced and cooperates in their pursuit, Venezuela does not and its “share” has risen from almost nothing 10 years ago. Did you read the artcile about landing strips not being destroyed?

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      We’ve forgotten about the European market. As I recall, the ‘majority’ of cocaine used in western Europe originates in Venezuela. They fly the stuff across the Atlantic, land in Senegal or somesuch, then find couriers to take it across the Mediterranean. They use ‘big’ aircraft too! They’ll find a disposable 747, fill it the gills, fly it West Africa, then dispose of the aircraft.

      • Kepler Says:

        There is a point there. Now, do you remember the plane departing from Venezuela that crashed closed to Gao?
        Back then several people were saying the Venezuelan government might be cooperating with Al Qaeda Maghreb. I wrote about that in my blog, giving all the options I could think of.
        I remember an English speaking journalist asked me back then if I thought the Venezuelan government was so intent in working with Al Qaeda etc, etc. She was quoting an “analyst” who happened to be the son of a US missionary couple and wanted to know if I thought the same thing.
        I said I didn’t know and she seemed to be disappointed.

        Now: back then Chávez was very friendly with the Mali government…which was in war against the Tuareg and fundamentalist Islamists who had links with Al Qaeda Maghreb. Now the fundamentalists have taken virtually all of Northern Mali and most of the centre (so, including Gao). That happened when the Mali military carried out a coup and ousted the Chávez-friendly president Amadou Toumani Touré.
        Venezuela’s government protested.
        So: which is which there?
        I don’t know.

      • bt Says:

        “Disposable 747″ makes no sense in English unless you’re going to throw it away, try “available 747.”

        • Ken Says:

          Sure it makes sense. It means they are going to get rid of it later. Available for disposal, is specific. Available, is open ended, as in available specifically for what purpose?

      • syd Says:

        Dr. Faustus, I have trouble with the disposing of an aircraft, after West African operatives have presumably unloaded it. Reason being, an aircraft is luxury asset, to be repurposed, if needed, but not to be disposed.

        • Dr. Faustus Says:

          Yes, it is a luxuary asset. What they do is purchase a de-comissioned aircraft or one that is on its last legs. It doesn’t have to be a 747. Any old. long-haul, and large transport aircraft will do In other words, the thing flies, but just barely. They dispose of it because the purchase agreement is traceable. Yes, it is very strange way of doing business. I’ll try and find the article where I read that.

          • Julio Says:

            The doctor is correct. They disposed of boeing 727 …not 747. Hard landing make aircraft unusable.

          • syd Says:

            I didn’t know this (about the purchase of a de-commissioned aircraft, or one on its last legs, before disposing of same after a delivery). I guess operating costs of the drug trade are very high, but recoverable on sales.

            Julio, why the hard landing?

        • ernex1@hotmail.com Says:

          There was a huge airliner disposed in Africa that pretty sure came loaded with coke, if you brought such a huge airplane loaded with that the airplane cost is the least of your worries, you already smuggled millions of dollars with it.

    • Kepler Says:

      Miguel,

      Any cocaine plane will always avoid crossing a border it does not need to cross any more. What is the share of planes departing from Colombia, which is the place where most cocaine is produced by far? Do they depart from landing strips at the Caribbean beach?

      Yes, I read about the landing strips. That is part of the equation, but as I said, things would make for better journalism if the whole picture were shown. There shouldn’t be a problem with that.
      By the way, another report worth considering:

      http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2011/World_Drug_Report_2011_ebook.pdf

      Look, among other things, at pages 108-109.

      Things are very rotten in Venezuela and the military are up to their heads in this cocaine trade, but looking at the whole picture even without Venezuela in play, I don’t see a rosy picture, even within very high-level governmental elements in many other countries in the Americas.

  3. moctavio Says:

    That is the point, the planes land in the border with Venezuela and Colombia so the Colombian cocaine can be loaded up. And Venezuela’s share which was very small ten years ago is up to 24%.


  4. Air America bushwackers are doing the milk runs.
    Check the filed return flights, and you’ll find
    the dea up to their ears in this traffic.

    • m_astera Says:

      As has been the case since the 1960s.

      • HalfEmpty Says:

        All covered up by the MOSSAD’s Mexican Accountants.

        • larry Says:

          Doris, please put down the bazuco pipe. That includes M_Astera too. Wake up folks, this is not the 80’s and the DEA is not running coke with the Venezuelan National Guard. Verifiable facts is what this is about and you keep doing the time warp again…

          • syd Says:

            Yup. Verifiable facts which you ain’t got, but pretend that you do. Geez what is it about these pseudonyms and blog commentaries which invite so many fantasists?

  5. syd Says:

    Given the horrific concentration of plane landings in Honduras (and Nicaragua), one can better understand the intense marketing of the Chávez administration towards a Zelaya presidency. Had it been successful, there would have been no better way to cement a drug pipeline, without the now more watchful eyes of the DEA.


    • you stole my point! that is why i was opening the comment form, to say that now we know why chavez and zelaya were such good friends.

    • larry Says:

      Lobo’s brother is worst than Zelaya. Welcome to reality

      • CharlesC Says:

        That is very sad. Honduruas could make it on it’s own 2 feet if given half a chance. (Better than Nicaragua)Several friends left Honduras last few years that had legitamate, good small businesses.
        As soon as Lobo took power he ran to embace Chavez and assure him I suppose that business would be resumed.
        I wonder when Chavez stopped paying Zelaya a huge salary plus expenses and his own plane- does he still have the plane and receive a check from Chavez. And finally note- just before Zelaya was impeached – a new
        plane (supposedly from Chavez ) was found in Honduras -and “noone knew
        who owned it nor where it came from” so Zelaya convienently claimed it.
        Lots of abandoned planes have been found in Honduras and one in particular in Mexico that was proven to have had large shipment of cocaine it -and the pilots nor anyone else were found. Just an abandoned plane…

  6. megaescualidus Says:

    As I’ve commented before, this is yet another reason HCF’s “reign” will be continued for as long as possible: the drug cartels wouldn’t want the situation you highlighted, Miguel, to end anytime soon. So they, along with other groups (hard core Chavistas themselves, “enchufados”, the military, the Cubans, la guerilla [and, needless to say, one does not know where one group ends and the other one starts]) would want HCF to definitely win the October elections and keep the status quo as undisturbed as possible.

    So, I do think HCF will cheat his way to a win in October, unless he dies before then (highly unlikely). And so since HCF is terminally ill, he may, as it’s been said, “kick the table” and declare himself winner even with a double digit margin favoring Capriles. As much as I like Capriles (and I will certainly vote for him at my local consulate), I think his chances of becoming the president in October are small, unless I’m missing something…

    So, in my mind the events will be: HCF wins in October, and he dies after (who know’s how soon after), and then there will be chaos because those groups I mentioned above won’t agree on anything (they probably hate each other to the gut, and the only thing keeping it all together is HCF himself).


  7. Old hat NEW laser technology that bares all-
    Remote-scanning techniques use lasers to detect otherwise invisible ground features. The technology digitally extracts vegetation for a clean image of the earth’s surface.

  8. firepigette Says:

    Zelaya and Chavez are friends not just because of drug connections but also because of their ideology( something that has been obvious for many years now, ) as leftists seem to be getting somewhat of a free pass on this issue.

  9. Ronaldo Says:

    Hugo Chavez is already using disparate actions. Threatening violence, denying air time to Capriles, telling lies about the opposition, spending huge amounts of cash on giveaways, etc. Chavez controls the courts and the majority in the national assembly. I have a hunch that the court will overturn a Capriles win automatically. This will lead to protests and Venezuela will need a long uprising to displace Chavez.

    Consider these–Amendinajad of Iran knows how to rig elections and stay in power. Castro has never had a fair election. Mugabe lost but is still in power. Assad is a dictator who inherited his position. Qadaffi took power in a coup. If Chavez celebrates his own coup attempt. Chavez friends don’t need elections, why would he?

  10. Kepler Says:

    Sorry, OT, but this is becoming weirder by the day:

    http://www.aporrea.org/venezuelaexterior/n210710.html

    (ambassador to Kenya)

  11. Roy Says:

    Stop the failed “war on drugs”. Decriminalize drugs and put the criminals out of business.

    • firepigette Says:

      Yes,

      The criminals will realize they won’t be able to deal in drugs and they will settle down to a life of legality :).

      People in the drug trade don’t just commit drug crimes, they are involved in any and all crimes that they can possibly make money at. They will continue their criminal behavior. They will not disappear.

      Also I am not convinced that they will cease their drug trade if drugs are legalized. They will continue to sell to kids who can’t buy the legalized drugs, or find other markets for their product. You also know as well as I that the Government will not resist the temptation to wildly overtax the drugs just like they have with alcohol and tobacco. This gives the drug dealers plenty of opportunity to ply their trade here. They will simply lower their prices and undercut legally sold drugs. The drug dealers also have the opportunity to convert their operations into legitimate businesses to supply the now legalized drugs to the markets in America. Either way, the drug cartels of Mexico, South America, and elsewhere will still be engaged in the drug trade of America. That means, violence, murder, kidnapping, and all the other ugliness associated with the drug trade will continue.

      • Kepler Says:

        This doesn’t make sense at all.

        Firstly: the countries mostly opposed to stopping the prohibition are…the United States of America…then the EU. I am sure there are thousands and thousands of people who would lose their jobs in security organisations and drug experts if this prohibition were to be lifted.

        Now, about the scenario you painted: look at alcohol.
        Who in the US is trying to sell to children alcohol? Sure there are people. What is the occurrence of this? People will look for other markets? Like where? Angola? Zimbabwe? And do you really think they will make drug trade illegal once the USA and the EU have stopped this silly attitude? No, they won’t.
        Apparently you are against taxes because you are inherently a US conservative and aren’t taxes, after all, the main reason why the independence war started?
        Undercut legally sold drugs? Like now with alcohol? Do you think so?

        • firepigette Says:

          Kepler,

          a few points:

          I am not a conservative .Just because I am not a Liberal, does not make me conservative.I am apolitical.

          I am not against taxes.I want tax reform.

          The human trafficking market could always use more people Kepler.Where do you think these criminals would go if they lost their ability to sell drugs? Criminals are criminals .They gravitate where they can make money illegally.

          • Ira Says:

            A cocaine processor in Colombia is not going to become a human trafficker. Crime doesn’t work that way.

            The Chicago and other mobs were decimated when prohibition ended, and there’s no reason to believe that legalization of certain drugs wouldn’t have the same effect. This isn’t speculation or a “may happen” situation–it’s simple fact.

            Remove the financial incentive, and you remove the motivation for the crime.

            • firepigette Says:

              Ira, Financial incentive for crime will always be there, it just changes venues.It does work that way.

              What doesn’t change are the nature of sociopaths for which there is no cure.

            • Ira Says:

              Fire, the point is, if you’re on the VZ-Colombia border processing and shipping cocaine–and cocaine is somehow made legal, literally killing your business–you can’t become a human trafficker overnight from that location and based on what you know how to do well (process and ship cocaine).

              According to your scenarios, there’s no reason to specifically battle any kind of criminal enterprise, because it would simply shift elsewhere.

              And to a point, I agree with your shifting venues philosophy–but you still have to battle those criminal enterprises which inflict the most damage on society.

              Whether drugs does that is DEBATABLE.

        • larry Says:

          Kepler, you need to smoke a joint, snort a line then get laid

  12. Julio Says:

    A couple of comments: this is a milestone article. Third time ever ‘suspicious activity’ tracks shown. This article puts our eye back on the ball. The timing and disclosure key. U.S. led multinational counter narcotics ops in region having effect. Note Brasilia mum about their pilot…it stinks at PT.


  13. [...] Flights to nowhere? Or Drug Flow Through Venezuela? [...]


  14. [...] Flights to nowhere? Or Drug Flow Through Venezuela? [...]

  15. firepigette Says:

    Ira,

    1.We have better ways of fighting crime than during the prohibition.

    2. We should never compare the past with what we can do now.

    3.That would be as silly as saying that we do not evolve and change, which is one of the few constants in this life.

    4.It is immoral and counterproductive to legalize something as destructive as drugs.Most people confuse legality with morality.

    • ernex1@hotmail.com Says:

      If it’s immoral to legalise drugs so is selling tobacco and alcohol.

      The “war on drugs” is stupid and it’s not working, it’s creating casualties and the people who wants drugs still are able to get them easily, I think the best solution is to legalise and collect taxes from it.

      http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog/time-to-end-the-war-on-drugs

    • Roy Says:

      firepigette,

      Sorry, but you are out to lunch on this one:

      “1.We have better ways of fighting crime than during the prohibition.”

      My response: Yes, but the criminals also have more advanced techniques and technologies too. Near parity is maintained, because law enforcement only evolves as fast as the criminals do, and is usually a step behind.

      “2. We should never compare the past with what we can do now.”

      My response: What silliness! We should start over on every problem each morning, not noting the lessons from the past? With that approach, there would be no human progress.

      “3.That would be as silly as saying that we do not evolve and change, which is one of the few constants in this life.”

      My response: Human genetic evolution happens very slowly. We have to work with what we have. Human beings are going to keep behaving like human beings.

      “4.It is immoral and counterproductive to legalize something as destructive as drugs.Most people confuse legality with morality.”

      My response: Hurting someone else is immoral. Hurting yourself is not immoral… just stupid!

    • LD Says:

      Firepigette, Roy said it very well, but there is a key why “war on drugs” don’t work, every time you capture some drugs/dealers you reduce the supply and so goes the price higher, making it more attractive for potential criminals or new suppliers to enter the “market”. The more “successful” you are, the higher the incentives…
      Look how Chávez destroyed national production, simply importing at lower prices…
      Sure, criminals would be looking for other areas to go, but at least there would make no sense to export/import drugs and they would not be getting that money. The farmers could get a fairer price for coca-leafs too, and could live normal lives, out of fear and slave conditions.
      Making the access legal also reduce drug-(secondary) criminality (people doing robbery to obtain the money to buy drugs).
      Drugs consumption is a reality, trying to pretend you can ban it is not helping nobody.

    • Ira Says:

      Ernex, Roy and LD responded to the issue extremely well.

      Even U.S. conservative columnist William Buckley, years ago in the late 60s an early 70s, consistently advocated abandoning an unwinnable war on drugs–before the term “war on drugs” was ever uttered by anyone! (Pre-Nixon, who was the first to declare such a war.)

      As far as morality goes, you know that’s not a defensible position. Everyone’s morality is different, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, where’s the arm?

      More people are killed–THOUSANDS more every day–from drunk drivers leaving legal and “moral” bars totally stoned out of their faces, and getting behind the wheel of a car.

      If the premise and objective of modern, organized society is to protect the public’s well being, bars would be outlawed–and every vehicle would be equipped with a breathalyzer impeding impaired operation of the vehicle.

      Ironically, pot just mellows you out and inclines you to drive 15 miles under the speed limit, and coke ENHANCES your senses for arguably safer driving.

      Check the statistics on traffic accidents involving pot or cocaine use, and compare them to ALCOHOL use!

      • Ira Says:

        I hate using a laptop. I keep missing letters.

      • m_astera Says:

        USA statistics, 2009:
        “Of the 10,839 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2009, 7,281 (67%) were drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 2,891 (27%) motor vehicle occupants and 667 (6%) nonoccupants.

        “In 2009, a total of 1,314 children age 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,314 fatalities, 181 (14%) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Out of those 181 deaths, 92 (51%) were occupants of a vehicle with a driver who had a BAC level of .08 or higher, and another 27 children (15%) were pedestrians or pedalcyclists struck by drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.”

        http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html

        ***
        67% of fatalities involving alcohol were the drivers themselves. The remainder, in and out of vehicles: 2891 + 667 = 3558;
        3558 / 365 = ~10 people per day dying, not counting the “drunk drivers”.
        ***
        Prescription drug deaths in USA:
        “death and serious patient outcomes from FDA approved drugs
        Deaths: 2010 –> 82,724″

        http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

        ***
        82,724 / 365 = 226 per day
        ***

  16. syd Says:

    I have no answers for the cocaine problem in our north-south corridor. For I don’t have sufficient knowledge on which to opine with some degree of feet-on-the-ground intelligence. As such, I’ll simply hazard a guess on what to do about the supply chain.

    If coca leaf farmers had a better generating incentive than coca leaf cultivation, which occurs at varying altitudes, climactic and soil conditions, principally in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, that scenario would go a long way towards reducing the supply in the coke trade. But I’m not sure what cash-crop (or mining) alternatives would be viable where the coca leaf is harvested for the illicit trade.

    • Roy Says:

      Syd,

      This is nonsense. The actual production of coca leaf is very tiny fraction of the cost of cocaine on the streets of Europe. No matter how many other opportunities for alternate crops or methods of making a living you offer, the illegal drug trade can out-bid them.

      • syd Says:

        Yes, Roy, I’m aware, like in all processed goods, that raw material is a very tiny fraction of the cost of goods sold. But unless cocaine can be made entirely of synthetic material, I would wager that without the coca leaf to produce the paste, there would be no final product for selling on the streets.

        And you’re right, alternatives for making a living, for the poor in the aforementioned regions can easily be outbid by the illegal drug trade. At least for now.

      • syd Says:

        On the other hand, the topography of acceptable coca leaf for the illicit trade is so vast that even if alternatives cash crops could be implemented, there’d be another field to dedicate to coca-leaf cultivation.

        It seems like a no-win battle. And perhaps the taxing of end users may be the only way to curb, but not eliminate the sale of drugs to the street.

        Again, I defer to those with a breadth of knowledge that I clearly don’t have. But even in my ignorance, I would never use the immoral card to refer to the unfortunate addict. (Absurd.)

        • larry Says:

          they have engineered coca plants selectively and genetically to produce higher yields..don’t recall details but look it up

  17. Roy Says:

    The movement to legalize drugs and end the “War on Drugs” is no longer a fringe group of crackpots. Serious and informed people throughout the world are adopting this position, including many law enforcement professionals:

    http://www.leap.cc/

  18. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    Hurting oneself is just as immoral as hurting others.

    Also taking drugs could increase one’s propensity to crime , so that collateral crime increases as well:

    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=352

    • Roy Says:

      “Hurting oneself is just as immoral as hurting others.”

      As soon as you make that distinction, you cross a line in limiting the free will of individuals.

      Individuals may disagree over what is harmful. Who decides?

      If it is immoral to harm oneself, than by logical extension, it is immoral to place oneself in danger of harming oneself. Therefore, skydiving and mountain climbing would be immoral. No? Those are OK? Taking drugs is dangerous, but does not involve a certainty of harm. I would argue that mountain climbing is probably more dangerous than most casual drug use.

      Note, I don’t use illegal drugs, and I don’t climb mountains either. However, I don’t think either of them are immoral. Forcing someone else to do either of those things without his/her consent would be immoral. And finally, preventing someone, by force, from doing either of those things is also immoral.

      If someone commits a crime while under the influence of drugs, he/she is equally guilty as if he/she had committed the crimes stone cold sober. Diminished capacity as a result of voluntary consumption of a substance that produced the diminished capacity should not be a defense. When one accepts the privileges of adulthood, one accepts the responsibilities as well.

    • Ira Says:

      There is zero evidence, ZERO evidence, that taking drugs increases one’s propensity to crime:

      Well, yeah–BUYING them makes you a criminal, but that’s sort of a chicken-or-egg-came-first discussion which doesn’t really count.

      More important in my mind, and as a liberal Democrat who still hates Chavez and all he stands for, I still bristle at how some people define “crime.”

      We tend to look at the lowly shmuck who steals the CD or GPS out of your car as the kind of dangerous criminal we should be putting all our efforts to fight against, where in reality, the kind of crime that inflicts the most damage on people’s lives has nothing to do with drugs at all.

      Madoff, anyone???

  19. Kepler Says:

    Syd,

    Roy is absolutely right. Coca leaves are the least concern.

    Last millennium I visited the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz. The museum is no British Museum or so, but it had a very nice permanent exhibition on Roman life…and there was this big map of the Roman world and the map showed trade.
    Hashish and opium were some of the drugs exported from such places as Egypt and Palestine to Rome.

    Now, think about this: drug traders spend hundreds of millions of dollars (or billions?) every year in weapons and fights in order to keep the trade going.
    Do you really think they spend a single cent less in lobbying?
    And do you think thousands upon thousands of businessmen supplying such people as the DEA with weapons and general support would like to see their sources of income evaporate?

    • syd Says:

      Interesting, regarding the ancient Roman exhibit at the Mainz museum and the trade routes for hashish and opium — ni idea tuve de esto.

      As for your 3rd/4th paragraphs … are you saying that the drug traders spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year in … lobbying???

      Regarding your 5th para., does the DEA account for as many weapons as, say, Desert Storm, or the war in Afghanistan ??

      • Roy Says:

        Drug cartel’s paying for lobbying to maintain anti-drug laws? Absolutely!

        Every time there is even a proposal to make marijuana us a misdemeanor instead of a felony, they spend big. They don’t want to go one inch towards decriminalization. That would end the gravy train for them.

        • larry Says:

          Roy, please put up or shut up. Verifiable facts, quotes, links, you know. You preach about the adulthood privileges yet fail to back up any of your assertions. If the best we can do is pot head Branson, well I have news for you. BTW, I like Branson

          • syd Says:

            You’re one to talk, Larry. A coupla links to sensationaiism, one a go-get-‘em cowboy NG show (look at our US military go!), and slippery comments framed as though you’ve got deep throat information .. not buying it, CG. I prefer less wiry comments and more meat-on-the-bone sources.

    • larry Says:

      did you hear that Hitler did cocaine? It made him “happy”

      this was in the recently released medical records up for auction

      • larry Says:

        the above is for mein führer Kepler

      • Ira Says:

        My God–I would hate to see what he would have done to the Slavs, Gypsies, Gays and Jews if he DIDN’T do coke!

        • syd Says:

          Ira: Years ago, I read Adolf’s medical case history – rather fascinating. Below you’ll find the amazon link to the book. Hitler was addicted to amphetamines, principally, these having a longer ‘shelf life’ in the body than does cocaine. The only mention of cocaine that I recall, was a cocaine(like) substance in eye drops (or injectable), which had the effect of making his eyes look like fried eggs — on purpose — to try to hyptonize his adulators.

          If I remember well, when I came across mention of the eyeball injections (which I believe contained a cocaine compound), I thought, yeeeeowch!

          No matter what the ingested substances were, the man was a raving addict. But not a cokehead, per se.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Did you read about a pyramid in Egypt- coca products and various products from the “new world were found”?

  20. Ira Says:

    Totally off-topic:

    I just discovered that yesterday the 28th, my older boy’s 21st birthday, is also Chavez’s birthday.

    I didn’t beat him or anything, but I told him to watch his ass or there would be hell to pay.

  21. syd Says:

    Thank you all for the serious comments pro and con. I’ve learned a great deal more than I knew before. I was particularly intrigued by the purchase of de-commissioned or last-leg planes for subsequent disposal. For it brought to mind an unsolved mystery, which may or may not be relevant to the drug trade.

    In the early 70’s, the brother of a very good friend, and his bride, travelled by communal avioneta, not piloted by either, to the village airstrip near the mountainous finca, owned by the family in Alta Verapáz (Guatemala). They were bringing, as was the custom every quincena, the money to pay the workers. The young man’s mother waited at the airstrip. The plane never made it.

    Search parties failed to find the plane. One of them also went down. A few months later, in desperation mode, the family hired a medium. She was able to locate the second plane, destroyed, lives lost in that mountainous ‘selva’, but never the first. Muy triste. I wonder if either avioneta carried any drugs, likely unbeknownst by the young man and his bride.

    • larry Says:

      Syd, in the early 70’s, cocaine was very expensive and exlusive. The coca paste was coming from Ecuador and final processing even took place in New York or Miami. Quantities where far smaller and routes where direct to South Florida from Colombia

      One reason why famous musicians choose Miami to record back then… EC, ABB, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, The Eagles, etc recorded at Criteria Studios in NMB or Bayshore Studios in the Grove. It was good till 1984-85.

      I seriously doubt the Guatemala mishap was drug related.

      • larry Says:

        related: EC quit cocaine and booze circa ’79. And he fired the band because they where all addicted for almost a decade. During this period, EC recorded regularly in Miami with his devout producer who lived here. Cocaine was very expensive and not accessible but these guys had plenty of it. Checkout Youtube videos of EC on the Johnny Cash Show… the band including Cash and Perkins snorted huge lines before going onstage.

        • syd Says:

          you sound like a long-time subscriber to Rolling Stone.

          • larry Says:

            No…don’t read RS but I understand it was a good mag back then. I play electric blues and rock guitar. I am a fan of the mentioned bands and my hobby takes me into recording techniques and gear used to record those famous albums. Only way to recreate the sound… you gotta know the original signal chains.

        • Ira Says:

          Back in the early 80s, coke was around $85 a gram. It’s now around $25 a gram.

          Don’t ask me how I know (but take a guess!), but I definitely know the reason for the spiral-down in price:

          Pot has continued to be illegal, and it’s simply easier to smuggle tons more coke in than weed because it’s “smaller”–thus the decrease in price because of the abundant supply. Pot, on the other hand, has increased in price in the opposite direction, 4-fold.

          Some drug policies this country has, huh? They’ve managed to make the highly more dangerous and damaging drug a lot cheaper, and the harmless stuff too damn expensive!

  22. larry Says:

    Dear All, there is a big distinction between pot and cocaine so when talking about legalization or war on drugs, please try to differentiate between the two otherwise your arguments may fail.

    I’m going to talk about cocaine in absolute terms. Anyone who’s for legalization of cocaine is suspect period. Politicians south of the border who talk about this without differentiating are just talking bullshit for domestic consumption.

    Roy, I assume you also want synthetic cannabinoids i.e. bath salts legal. Same for crystal meth. You obviously are far removed from these problems.

    Around 100 years ago half of the U.S. was addicted to opiates or cocaine. Ask the good Dr. Freud. We learned back then that these drugs are addictive and destructive.

    Pot is legal in many states with Colorado leading the way in regulation. The fighting continues. Personally, I see pot legalization slowly gaining ground. Very slowly.

    Last but not least: Dear Kepler, your knowledge about Americana never ceases to amuse me. Can the U.S. stop the flow of cocaine? Absolutely given the resources but this means more militarization which is expensive and politically sensitive. The U.S. can deny area access to all those drug flights.

    Something has to give sooner or later but there’s no way in hell the status quo can remain. Adan Chavez and gang have future date with U.S. justice

    • syd Says:

      And I’m back in confusion-land. But somehow I feel better knowing that there is some selectivity in the de-facto fight for legalization. Having said that, I’m aware of legalized spots for heroin addicts in Vancouver. But I know nothing more than that.

      Larry, please define some of your terms. ‘South of the border’ has different meanings to a US citizen versus a Canadian.

      You say that to stop the flow of cocaine, the US can deny area access to all those drug flights. The comment implies that the bulk of cocaine arrives by air, when, according to the NYT article, air conveyance accounts for only 20% of the illicit drug flow.

      Finally, do you really think Adan Chávez and gang will be travelling to Disneyland with their families any time soon? Any proof that the US justice system is waiting?

      • larry Says:

        politicians in Latam like to talk it up before summits…even Santos joined the fray. Blame the US and legalize drugs. Cheap rhetoric for domestic audiences. The US military can stop the flights into Centam and Hispaniola which would impact subsequent final land and air-sea routes to U.S. mainland. Easier said than done. The current interdiction model championed by Ambassador Brownsfield could be the basis for a regional model if only they could implement. The U.S. military doing significant dent on sea routs forcing them to go sub-surface. Venezuela has neutralized Plan Colombia’s achievements.

        Regarding capo di tutti capi Adan Chavez, he won’t coming here on his own free will. There is debate within the administration about designating him like others but that has not happened for reasons you can imagine. I’m not aware of whether sealed indictments are coming but that just creates another problem because if you unseal, then you have to go after them.

        There is some frustration in certain circles about the continued silence of US government in light of what they know. Silence leads to complicity some say.

        This article and another recent one in Wapo are the result of POTUS no threat comment. These articles begin to define the threat. This is your side at work. I cannot say more.

        • CharlesC Says:

          “There is some frustration in certain circles about the continued silence of US government in light of what they know. Silence leads to complicity some say.” Actually there are more than “some” -quite a lot of government and military who know are very concerned. Very.

          I have been critical of US for years-State Department, etc. even the President for playing wanting to play”huggy” with Hugo…-ha(and Castro)…

    • Roy Says:

      Larry,

      Than let me be clear: Legalize ALL of it. Yes, I agree the drugs are a problem, but treat the issue as a social or health problem, not a criminal one.

      Read the piece in the link by enrnex1@hotmail above. It was written by Richard Branson about the positive results that Portugal has had with this strategy.

      • larry Says:

        Roy, Portugal is NO example. One of the highest school drop-out rates in the world. 28% of the population between 25 and 64 has completed high school. Unskilled work force more interested in smoking hash requiring another bailout? No thanks. Have friends who toked with Branson so what.

        • Kepler Says:

          And that is because of drugs? Or is that just to proof they can’t show a lesson?

          And I suppose they have been taking less drugs since 2000 and that is why their education standards, although still low, have been increasing? Somehow they were not taking drug in the XVI century, right, but they started with it and down it went.

          And that is why the US became an empire in the first place?

          And thanks to the US and its drug policies we haven’t had another Adolf Hitler. Danke!

          You can tell people to shut up in your house. Not outside.

      • larry Says:

        Roy, you have not seen enough my friend!

        • Roy Says:

          Over fifty countries on six contintinents. How about you?

          • Kepler Says:

            Larry tiene acceso a más de mil canales de televisión que puede ver con tan solo presionar un botón. Cuidado! No sabes con quién te estás metiendo. ;-)

            • syd Says:

              cuando no está tocando guitarra.

            • Roy Says:

              Era demasiado fácil. La respuesta me fue presentado en bandeja de plata.

            • Coolio Says:

              same as you but if you ever want to meet face to face and settle this man to man in the ring you are welcome. I’m a street brawler. People who act tough do not impress me. You dont impress me

            • Coolio Says:

              I am privy to information because I earned it. Those in Canada and Germany wish they knew what I know. I said alot in these posts or can’t you understand English. Syd, if you cannot see the patterns in NYT and WAPO and RunRunes and this blog and other blogs then WTF are you doing here.

            • Coolio Says:

              Kepler, you have your head so far up your ASS that I cannot take you seriously anymore. Your conspiracy theories are infantile. You need to educate yourself. Ignorance can be cured

            • syd Says:

              plinc, plinc, plinc, plinc, plinc, plinc, plinc.
              (suena la guitarra)

  23. larry Says:

    checkout the new series “Pablo Escobar El Patron del Mal” to see how he started… it’s very factual. Pablo came in the second half of the seventies and was responsible for taking cocaine to the next level. He started mass production and final processing. Deliveries by air direct to mainland or to waiting go-fast boats aka midnight runners.

    http://www.elcarteltv.com/

    http://www.primiciatv.com/

  24. larry Says:

    this series of videos is recent and first-time behind the scenes DEA in Colombia. Highly recommended. The series focuses on coke departing by sea. They don’t go to the Venezuelan frontier or mention it. The videos may not be viewable in some countries – please read the loading instructions for proxy sites if you cannot view:

  25. larry Says:

    Question: What is Adan Chavez’ nickname in the U.S.?

    Answer: Pablo Escobar

  26. firepigette Says:

    Ira,

    Sorry but you haven’t looked into it enough.Of course there is correlation between drug use and crime and that includes Marijuana and Alcohol.For starters:

    http://www.umsl.edu/~keelr/180/drgcrime.html

    People on drugs are much more likely to commit crimes, especially cocaine which tends to cause violent behavior.

    Then there is neglect.How much misery is cause by neglect?Marijuana users specialize in that.

    Right now I don’t have time to continue providing links…maybe tomorrow, but this is a subject of utmost importance.

    Some brief bullet points taken from the abstract:

    -Drug use and criminality are very positively correlated
    – No study has failed to find the correlation
    -Users of Drugs are extremely more likely to:
    – Participate in a wide variety of criminal activity
    – Engage in more violent crime
    – Engage in more serious crime
    -The more one uses drugs, the more likely one is to be involved in criminal activity

    • Roy Says:

      FP,

      A positive corrolation is not proof of cause and effect. In general, abusers of drugs are people with poor impulse control. So are most criminals. So the corrolation should be no surprise to anyone.

      • firepigette Says:

        True that a positive correlation is not proof but often it is a good indication…In this case it should be common sense.Have you ever been around drug addicts? If someone who has sociopathic tendencies takes cocaine( which increases violent behavior) and inhibits constraints….. this creates a Molotov cocktail.

        There are other types of studies, psychiatric ones, that link sociopathy to drug abuse, and studies that link sociopathy to crime.

        Most people without psychiatric or sociopathic tendencies do not want to get in trouble with the law, and have significant impulse control.

        Now I really have to go…..Mom needs to get to the doctor.

        On the subject of treatment.I agree that some drug users need psychiatric or other treatments….rather than incarceration- but there are different levels, and we also need to fight the criminals.

        When I came back to the US i was involved for some time with the Human Kindness foundation and Bo Lozoff who founded a company to hire ex- cons to keep them employed .He also taught meditation to inmates with some success…..
        spiritual techiniques can work miracles with some drug users….but not everyone is in the same category.

        • Kepler Says:

          “but often it is a good indication…”
          Habló la científica.

          • Kepler Says:

            “Mr Brown, we are going to have to hang you”

            • firepigette Says:

              It doesn’t take a scientist Kepler to see what is in front of your face….the day we start demanding that kind of absolute proof when it comes to behavior is the day we can no longer have thinking individuals.

              But for more validation if you cannot see it for yourself but read the above link and do your own research.

    • Ira Says:

      I’m telling you, you’re wrong on that major point–something which you can only understand by studying the discipline of Statistics, or whatever the hell else it’s called.

      I HAVEN’T studied this, but I was good buddies with a heavyweight in the Research field in the major ad agency I worked for in NYC. The guy was a freaking genius in understanding “statistics” and “studies,” and opened my eyes to how so much of it is BULLSHIT, unless you truly know how to interpret it.

      But he gave me THIS idiot’s guide/explanation which anyone can understand, and which is so often used by those trying to claim a meaningful connection via “studies,” and in our case, the connection between crime and drugs.

      300,000,000 people in the U.S., and 3,000,000 people (for the purpose of this example) arrested in a given year for crimes. All 3,000,000 use drugs.

      So, the uneducated and narrow-minded assume 100% of drug users commit crime.

      However, assume all 300,000,000 people in the country use drugs–so the real number is only ONE percent of drug users commit crimes (or granted, are at least caught). But even if you can’t accept that 300,000,000 figure, understandably so, let’s say 30,000,000 people use drugs.

      So we’re still at only a 10% connection between drugs and crime–hardly a convincing statistical certainty.

      In other words, the numbers can’t support any correlation because we don’t HAVE the correct numbers. But both anectdotal and empirical evidence CLEARLY shows that that the above example is far more likely than unlikely–also hence the absurd and obscene numbers of incarcerated persons JUST because of their “crime” of possessing drugs.

      We all want to make the world better and safer, but please. In order to do so, we have to look at the facts, and not some outdated mindsets and prejudices which have nothing to do with reality.

  27. Andres F Says:

    nice map!

  28. Ira Says:

    Miguel–I need a Mercosur lesson, and how they’re sneaking in VZ membership during Paraguay’s suspension.

    Next blog, please! With a description and analysis of all the players.


  29. suggest a topic[SAT] –
    (from german spiegel mag)
    One in four employable Spaniards is out of work (an unemployment rate almost five times as high as Germany’s), while 53 percent of young people are unemployed (almost seven times the German rate). Spain is a deeply wounded and torn country. The wealthy and influential members of high society, the ones who make their daily noontime pilgrimages to the expensive restaurants where it’s still difficult to get a table — they still exist. At the same time, however, hundreds of small bars throughout the country have had to shut their doors, because most ordinary Spaniards can no longer afford ordinary prices. Many are too proud to stand in line at church soup kitchens.

    Anyone coming back to ccs from spain?

  30. Kepler Says:

    Multiple personality Coolio/Larry,

    The only pattern I see is that some wackos in the USA want to do a Noriega on Chávez…wackos like your other friend Roger Noriega, the one claiming to see Iranian rockets aiming at the US from Margarita’s and not just Paraguana’s beaches.

    That could only backfire very badly. You are experts on getting backfired that due to an ever crappier bunch of analysts, not what you used to have. The technicians your government hires can send the satellites you need and perform the technical part of the SIGINT operations you want. You cannot figure out what to make out of it because you – and I mean that part of a country of people like you, Larry – live in your wee monocultural world that portrays the rest as some Middle Kingdom kind of place.

    Fact is that Chavismo is full of corrupt guys involved in the cocaine trafficking.
    Fact is that you won’t ever win the drug trade.
    And fact is that there are a lot of people also on your side who are profiting very nicely on that war on drugs remaining as it is. It optimizes prices. Drug dealers are thankful. They know the right lobbyists are worth more than what they spend in weapons…by the way: “security experts” galore – not all of them – are happy as well that this pointless war on drugs (rather on drug prices) goes on.

    Now you can go on with your trashy attacks…or better go to a Utah blog commenting on how you want your America back.

    Quite honestly, not a very good help in getting rid of Chávez, the likes of you.

    • syd Says:

      Coolio/Larry is Caracas Gringo.

      • Roy Says:

        Syd,

        I don’t see any similarities in writing style, proficiency of English grammar, or apparent level of education between Larry/Coolio and Caracas Gringo. Why do you say they are one and the same?

      • syd Says:

        Coolio may not be Larry. But I think Larry is CG. My unproven suspicion comes from the following shared traits:

        the love of a good yarn
        the love of sensationalism
        an edgy style of writing
        an ‘I’ve got deep sources of information’ that no one else has
        the love for the intricacies of rock and roll.

        Finally, when I did label Larry as CG, or even spelled the name in full, there was no contest.

        • CharlesC Says:

          Hello,Syd. (Hospitalized for 12 days) Larry brought a lot of interesting info..
          O/T but if IF Chavez loses 7O , I would hope that very soon afterward
          people would pick up paintbrushes and go all about the country painting over all of that “propaganda art”-all of it. Agreed?

          • Roy Says:

            Like the toppling of Lennin statues in the old USSR?

            • Ira Says:

              In Russia (not the now independent republics of the USSR), isn’t it still kind of verboten to criticize Lenin–like he was a God?

              And that all of the Soviet’s problems are blamed on LATER leaders?


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