The war for drug control in Bogotá unleashes bloody violence

The war for drug control in Bogotá unleashes bloody violence

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Colombian authorities have pointed to the Tren de Aragua, a feared crime organization that emerged in Venezuela, as being responsible for at least 23 murders committed this year in Bogotá, some of whose victims were dismembered.

In the last month, there have been particularly bloody murders, products of the war for control of drug markets in marginal neighborhoods of Bogotá. This phenomenon known as micro-trafficking not only falls on Colombian gangs, but also on Mexican, Brazilian and Venezuelan cartels.

In the last week alone, the dismembered bodies of four people have been found in bags in different parts of the Colombian capital. The Aragua Train is behind “17 acts of violence so far this year and 23 fatalities, four of them dismembered,” reported the Bogotá police commander, General Carlos Triana. The dismemberment of the victims to hide them in bags and sacks is “a modality that had not been seen in the city,” added Triana.

The increase in this criminal action could jeopardize the long-awaited Peace Pact, which President Petro aspires to achieve during his government.

At the end of August, the new Colombian president offered drug traffickers this Wednesday to suspend their extradition to the United States and grant them “legal benefits” in exchange for them surrendering and abandoning their activity.

For Adam Isacson, director of defense oversight at the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA) analysis center, the government’s intentions must go beyond negotiating judicial sentences with these gangs. “It appears that President Petro is seeking to alleviate this security crisis by negotiating some criminal deals with the leaders of these groups. This may perhaps bring some peace of mind only if the government, the State takes the opportunity to increase its own presence”, warns the political scientist.

“If, for example, in a marginal neighborhood of Bogotá there is a war between gangs and the government negotiates with the leaders who hand over their weapons, but the presence of the State does not increase in these neighborhoods, if there are no police, no schools, no hospitals, no jobs What is going to happen? Another criminal group can very quickly dominate this neighborhood.”

On the other hand, the fragmentation of criminal gangs and guerrillas makes it difficult to fight violence. “Ten years ago I would have been able to name all the criminal and armed groups that had more than 100 members. Now it is impossible. There is a fragmentation, a spread of much smaller violent groups and less territorial control and they are competing. It is increasingly similar to what you see in some parts of Mexico”, concludes Adam Isacson.

In addition to negotiating with drug traffickers, Petro is on the way to resuming peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last recognized guerrilla group in Colombia.

Adam Isacson was interviewed by Marilyn Lavado.

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Written by Editor TLN

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