Ex-Colombian president details FARC, 'El Chapo' $50B alliance

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Dec. 23, 2015 at 1:35 PM
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MEXICO CITY, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango said the FARC rebel group and Mexican drug cartels share an alliance worth tens of billions of dollars, particularly with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel.

During a recent interview in Caracas, Venezuela, Pastrana Arango told El Universal the FARC and Mexican cartel criminal alliance helped create a massive drug trafficking operation, generating up to $50 billion with the more than 450 tons of cocaine produced illegally in Colombia each year.

Pastrana Arango served as the Colombian president from 1998 until 2002 and briefly served as the Colombian ambassador to the United States. He said if Colombia's FARC is truly politically motivated to seeking peace with the Colombian government, then the rebel group must deny or confess any links to Guzman, other Mexican drug cartels and the Venezuelan Cartel of the Suns.

Pastrana Arango said the group must also disclose drug-trafficking routes and other available details to help dismantle the international drug network.

"It is very serious. The reports we have in Colombia are from the U.S. government about the great influence the Sinaloa Cartel, of Guzman, have on the FARC," Pastrana Arango said. "There has been a substitution of cartels in the region. Today, Colombians do not manage the drug business -- Mexicans manage. "

Pastrana Arango said Colombia produced 450 tons of cocaine this year due to the Colombian government's decision, under President Juan Manuel Santos, to stop the fumigation of illicit coca fields.

"We are talking about 450 tons a year being between $30 [billion] to $50 billion annually that the FARC receives. Is the FARC going to disclose its drug-trafficking routes? It is the great cartel of the world, said so by the United States, along with El Chapo," Pastrana Arango added.

In May, Colombia announced it will stop using glyphosate, a controversial herbicide used in aerial fumigations to destroy illegal coca plantations in FARC territory. For the past two decades, glyphosate has been used to remove the leaves of the coca plant in Colombia. The World Health Organization considers glyphosate "probably carcinogenic."

Pastrana Arango said the FARC must report its relationship because it has not been required to as part of the peace negotiation process with the Colombian government that has been taking place in Havana, Cuba, since 2012. He said the FARC must confess before a final peace deal is signed or the government must investigate on its own, which will then punish the FARC with the "maximum penalty" of extradition to the United States.

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