At the end of last week, Mexican authorities seized the largest cocaine shipment in the country’s history – 21.3 metric tons (23.5 tons) according to the Attorney General’s office. The cocaine has an estimated street value of USD 2.7 billion, based on calculations that use the
(picture from Mexico's office of the Attorney General)
If 21.3 metric tons of cocaine is worth USD 2.7 billion inside the
Now compare those earnings to the USD 1.4 billion that the
While Mexican authorities were counting sacks of cocaine, Guatemalan authorities were counting votes. Left of center candidate Alvaro Colom won the presidential run-off election, defeating his opponent and former military intelligence office Otto Perez. Two facts emerged from these results: a relatively low number of Guatemalans voted in the run-off elections and by choosing Colom, those that voted indicated they do not support the mano dura or “iron fist” policies promoted by Perez.
So Guatemalans chose to avoid that trap and go with a man who is more focused on economics and reform, but who many believe has made deals with organized crime. That’s bad news, especially in
Part of the USD 1.4 billion counter-narcotics package will go to
Meanwhile, former Venezuelan Defense Minister and General Raul Baudel broke camp with long-time friend and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez this week when he told the nation to vote against Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms, passed by the National Assembly on 2 November.
Baudel is now on a nation-wide campaign to give Venezuelan’s an insider’s argument for why the nation should not hand over authoritarian control to Hugo Chavez, who, by the way, is quite upset. Apart from Baudel’s significant defection, Chavez must deal with thousands of students who for over a year now have continued to build an increasingly vocal segment of the opposition.
The students remain a thorn in Chavez’s side, but Buadel’s participation in the opposition could turn into something altogether more interesting and significant as we march closer to the 2 December nation-wide referendum to approve or reject Chavez’s reforms package. Approval would be tantamount to the last nail in the coffin for Venezuelan democracy. Rejection would be a major blow to Chavez’s political position. Again, time will tell…