Articles by: Bill Weinberg
After the indigenous uprising in Peru’s Amazon region in June, it appears that an indigenous pledge to physically resist the operations of Dallas-based Hunt Oil on communal rainforest lands could reignite the uprising. In what is shaping up as an important test case, Hunt Oil is opening trails in preparation for seismic exploration within an indigenous reserve in Madre de Dios.
From its origins 10 years ago, the multibillion-dollar aid package and militarized anti-narcotics program known as Plan Colombia was understood by its proponents as a model to be applied elsewhere in the hemisphere, and it was—first in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, through the Andean Regional Initiative. More recently, Pentagon planners have been explicitly evoking Plan Colombia as a model for the war in Afghanistan, where counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics efforts have likewise become inexorably entwined.
The strength of the Mexican drug cartels' firepower now rivals even that of the regular army. Both the cartels and the Mexican state get their arms from the United States. During Fox’s administration, an astonishing 2,000 guns entered Mexico every day, overwhelmingly from across the northern border, according to official Mexican estimates. This “iron river” of guns, as it has been called, has swollen since the U.S. Congress allowed the federal ban on assault weapons to expire in 2004. Mexican authorities confiscated an unprecedented 10,579 smuggled weapons in 2005, and they say 90% of them came from the United States. Drug smuggling also make a key part of this equation.