The Medellín Cartel was an organized network of drug suppliers and smugglers originating in the city of Medellín, Colombia. The drug cartel operated in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, the United States, as well as Canada and Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was founded and run by Ochoa Vázquez brothers Jorge Luis, Juan David, and Fabio together with Pablo Escobar. By 1993, the Colombian government, in collaboration with the Cali cartel, right-wing paramilitary groups, and the United States government, had successfully dismantled the cartel by imprisoning or assassinating its members.
Born in Panama City, Noriega was a career soldier, receiving much of his education at the Military School of Chorrillos in Lima, Peru. He also received intelligence and counterintelligence training at the School of the Americas at the U.S. Army’s Fort Gulick in the Panama Canal Zone in 1967, as well as a course in psychological operations (psyops) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was commissioned in the Panama National Guard in 1967 and promoted to lieutenant in 1968. In the power struggle that followed, including a failed coup attempt in 1969, Noriega supported Omar Torrijos. He received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and was appointed chief of military intelligence by Torrijos. Noriega claims that, following Torrijos’ instructions, he negotiated an amnesty for about 400 defeated guerrilla fighters, enabling them to return from exile in Honduras and Costa Rica.
Torrijos died in a plane accident on July 31, 1981. Colonel Roberto Díaz Herrera, a former associate of Noriega, claimed that the actual cause for the accident was a bomb and that Noriega was behind the incident.
Omar Torrijos was succeeded as Commander of the Panamanian National Guard by Colonel Florencio Flores Aguilar. One year later, Flores was succeeded by Rubén Darío Paredes, and Noriega became chief of staff. The guard was renamed the Panamanian Defense Forces. Paredes resigned as commander to run for the presidency, ceding his post as commander of the forces to Noriega.
Although the relationship did not become contractual until 1967, Noriega worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the late 1950s until the 1980s. In 1988 grand juries in Tampa and Miami indicted him on U.S. federal drug charges.
The 1988 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded: “The saga of Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, Noriega was able to manipulate U.S. policy toward his country, while skillfully accumulating near-absolute power in Panama. It is clear that each U.S. government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellín Cartel (a member of which was notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar).” Noriega was allowed to establish “the hemisphere’s first ‘narcokleptocracy'”. One of the large financial institutions that he was able to use to launder money was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was shut down at the end of the Cold War by the FBI. Noriega shared his cell with ex-BCCI executives in the facility known as “Club Fed”.
In the 1988 U.S. presidential election, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis highlighted this history in a campaign commercial attacking his opponent, Vice President (and former CIA Director) George H. W. Bush, for his close relationship with “Panamanian drug lord Noriega.”
Video Rating: / 5
Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News
The United Nations announced in 2013 that Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world’s top producer of coca, the raw plant material used to manufacture cocaine. For the past two decades, Colombia has been virtually synonymous with cocaine. Now that Peru has become the global epicenter of cocaine production, the Andean nation runs the risk of becoming the world’s next great narco state.
The Peruvian government is trying to crack down on the problem by ramping up eradication of coca plants, and devoting military and police resources to interdiction efforts. Despite the response — and a hefty amount of foreign aid devoted to combatting cocaine production — Peruvian coke is being consumed in the nightclubs of Lima and in cities around the world like never before.
VICE News travels to Peru to learn more about the government’s battle plan against cocaine, and to see how nearly every aspect of Peruvian society is caught up in the fight. We witness how the fine, white powder has forced an entire nation to the brink in the global war on drugs.
Read “Meet the Man Helping Peru’s Foreign Drug Mules Get Home”- http://bit.ly/1qT9i1j
Read “The Opium and Heroin Business Is Booming in Southeast Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle'” – http://bit.ly/1B2tzCe
Read “A Law Designed to Target Coke Lords Is Screwing Over Legal Pot Companies” – http://bit.ly/1ylCr6x
Read “‘Air Cocaine’: Trial Begins for Frenchmen Charged With Smuggling Drugs From the Dominican Republic” – http://bit.ly/1BqeT01
Watch “Rosario: Violence, Drugs and Football (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1w2kk6H
Check out the VICE News beta for more: http://vicenews.com
Follow VICE News here: