Castro’s Victory Spells End Of US-Backed ‘Narco-Politics, Neoliberalism’

Castro’s victory is just the latest in a year of leftist victories in Latin America, including Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Luis Arce in Bolivia, all of which represent significant setbacks for the US’ agenda in the region.

“There will be no more abuse of power in this country,” Castro said in an unofficial victory speech on Sunday. “Today, the people have made justice. We have reversed authoritarianism.”

With 40% of votes counted, she held a commanding lead of 53.3% over her chief rival, National Party candidate Nasry Asfura, who Sputnik News journalist Wyatt Reed described as the “handpicked successor to Juan Orlando Hernandez,” the right-wing president whose two election victories were widely marred by fraud.

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Venezuela Border Conflict Mixes Drug Trafficking And Regime-Change

Beginning in mid-March, Venezuelan army units have been attacking and expelling Colombian operatives active in Apure state. These have long used Venezuela’s border region to prepare cocaine arriving from Colombia and ship it to the United States and Europe. The fighting has subsided; eight Venezuelan troops were killed. Seeking safety, 3,500 Venezuelans crossed the Meta River—an Orinoco tributary—to Arauca in Colombia.

The bi-national border is unmonitored and long enough, at 1367 miles, to encourage smuggling and the undocumented passage of cross-border travelers, in this instance the embattled Colombians in Apure.

Among these are armed paramilitaries, bands of former FARC-EP insurgents and narcotraffickers—pilots, truckers, laboratory workers, and more.

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Four Takeaways From US Trial Against Honduras President’s Brother

The US drug trial against the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández brought the nexus between organized crime and political power to the forefront, undermining the country’s purported role as an ally in the fight against corruption and powerful drug trafficking groups.

Over the course of the two-week trial that ended with the conviction of former Honduran congressman Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández — the president’s brother — on drug and weapons charges, little doubt remained about the importance his connections to political power and dirty members of the country’s security forces played in facilitating his network.

Still, it’s unclear if this conviction alone — especially in the wake of past convictions that in hindsight only temporarily shook up Honduras’ elite — will knock down the criminal structures firmly in place.

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