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Monday, January 2, 2012
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Colombia Urabenos ‘drug gang leader’ shot by police

Officials in Colombia say the alleged leader of a powerful criminal gang has been killed in a police operation.

Prosecutors accuse Juan de Dios Usuga and his brother Dairo Antonio of jointly leading the Urabenos gang, which controls much of the drug-trafficking in the north of Colombia.

Police say Juan de Dios Usuga, 44, was shot dead as officers tried to arrest him at his ranch in Choco province.

[…]

Los Urabenos is one of the groups the Colombian government calls Bacrim, short for bandas criminales (criminal gangs).

While the era of the big cartels in Colombia is over, at least rhetorically, the drug business does continue at significant levels.

I think that on the one hand it is important to note that Colombia has made substantial progress in regards to violence and criminality,  but that on the other hand, the struggle continues.  I note this, if anything, because often the press (and sometimes representatives of the US government) speaks as if the drug war has been basically won in Colombia and that, therefore, policies used there are directly exportable to Mexico and Afghanistan.  This is problematic because such pronouncements make it sound as if the drug war is working (and is “winnable”) when, in fact, this is not the case.  It is also problematic because the situations in Mexico and Afghanistan are substantially different than that in Colombia once one gets beyond superficial comparisons that include violence and drugs.

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