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Venezuela: Stronghold of FARC Dissidents

first_imgBy Diálogo August 30, 2019 “Don’t have any doubts about it,” Rocío San Miguel, director of Venezuelan nongovernmental organization (NGO) Control Ciudadano, which specializes in security, defense, and military issues, told Diálogo, concerning the presence of FARC dissidents in Venezuela.Venezuelan attorney Fermín Marmol García, a security analyst and director of the Criminal Science and Criminology Institute at Saint Mary University in Caracas, echoed San Miguel’s words and described the country as “porous” with a weak government that not only sustains a corridor of criminal activities, but also harbors irregular armed groups.“The most important presence of a foreign organized criminal group is the National Liberation Army [ELN, in Spanish],” Marmol García told Diálogo. “The ELN is perhaps the criminal group that has benefited most from our institutional weakness, but FARC dissidents are also present.”On July 16, Colombian President Iván Duque accused the Maduro regime of protecting FARC dissidents. In an interview with the Colombian television news program Noticias RCN, Duque said missing leaders Luciano Marín, alias Iván Márquez; Hernán Darío Velásco, alias el Paisa; and Henry Castellanos, alias Romaña, were in Venezuela.“They are not over there playing dolls; they are protected by the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship,” Duque said.In late July, Maduro offered refuge to two former FARC commanders sought by Colombian judicial authorities: Márquez, who led the negotiations for the peace process with Colombia and whose whereabouts became unknown in August 2018 and Seuxis Pausías Hernández, alias Jesús Santrich, wanted for U.S. drug trafficking charges, who fled Colombia in July after taking his seat in the Colombian Congress under the terms of the peace accords.Maduro’s move, San Miguel said, “defied the international democratic community and was a confession of protection.”Several sources, including San Miguel, former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana, and Maduro’s ex-spy chief General Manuel Cristopher Figuera, said they believed both leaders crossed into Venezuela before leaving for Cuba.“I have received the following information,” Pastrana wrote on Twitter August 10. “The airplane for the exclusive use of Nicolás Maduro, disguised as a commercial flight from [Venezuelan airline] Conviasa, tail number YV3016, took off from Ramp 4 from Caracas heading for Havana. It transported Iván Márquez, Santrich, and Adán Chávez [Hugo Chávez’s older brother and former ambassador to Cuba] for an emergency meeting in Cuba.”In an interview with Spanish news agency EFE, Gen. Figuera, in exile in the United States, said local sources confirmed the presence of Santrich in early July in Caracas’ Fort Tiuna military complex.Criminal enclaveAt a United Nations Security Council briefing on the peace process in Colombia on July 19, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said that while Colombia is working to reintegrate more than 10,000 former guerillas, 16 percent of the leaders “haven’t told the truth, haven’t attended hearings, and haven’t committed to the guarantees of non-repetition because their current whereabouts are unknown.”In early 2019, the Venezuelan NGO FundaRedes, which conducts research on human rights and democracy, said it identified at least six armed groups led by former FARC leaders carrying out illicit activities in Venezuela, most specifically in the states of Amazonas, Apure, Bolivar, Táchira, and Zulia, which border Colombia.According to the NGO, FARC dissidents have entered into agreements with the ELN and engage in illegal gold mining in the Orinoco Mining Arc region of Bolivar and Amazonas states. The NGO also says they have strengthened the drug trafficking corridor between Colombia and Venezuela and have ties to several transnational criminal groups, such as Mexico’s Sinaloa and Brazil’s Red Command drug cartels.U.S. investigative organization InSight Crime, which specializes in security threats in Latin America and the Caribbean, reported that an October 2018 meeting between FARC and ELN leaders took place in Apure state in Venezuela to consolidate their cooperation. According to the organization’s sources, Márquez and El Paisa were said to have attended the meeting.“The FARC is present through its greatly diminished dissidence, controlling its share of cocaine trafficking, storage, distribution, and collateral issues such as extortion in its area of influence,” Marmol García said. “Between 600 to 1,000 FARC dissidents could be present in Venezuela.”The presence of FARC rebels on Venezuelan soil and the support they receive from the Chavista regime is longstanding. Between 2008 and 2017, the U.S. government designated at least 10 current and former Venezuelan government officials and military officers who were assisting FARC members in narcotrafficking activities, and facilitating arms sales and security.Their presence in Venezuela under Maduro’s protection, experts say, puts stability in the region at risk. “The presence of the FARC in Venezuela is expected to increase in the same measure as the peace accords seem to be eroding,” San Miguel said.last_img read more

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Your credit union needs to get into gaming

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bolun Li Bolun Li is a Junior at Duke University majoring in Economics. He is a serial entrepreneur and was awarded AACYF 30 under 30 in 2018 for his previous startup. Today, … Web: https://www.zogofinance.com Details Publisher’s Note: CUInsight is hosting a free webinar Wednesday, September 2 titled, “3 Ways to Use Gamification to Attract Younger Members”. We hope you’ll join us! Register here.Admit it! No matter your age or demographic, you have probably played a game or two in the past couple of weeks.You order a coffee through an app on your phone, and earn “stars” toward a free drink. You go on your daily jog and track it on an app that shows your progress towards your goals.No matter what your day looks like, there’s a good chance it was at least a little gamified.Have you ever wondered: WHY do games make you excited?A lot of people will tell you that it’s because of the point system, or the flashy animations and interactive interfaces. However, behind all of that, the game design principles are actually very much centered around human nature:The player is given a clear goalThe player knows exactly step-by-step how to reach the goalThe player is guaranteed a reward when they reach the goalIt turns out that hitting goals is one of the most satisfying experiences for humans — and we don’t get enough of that in real life. That’s why so many people spend hours solving a computer puzzle, winning a digital basketball game or conquering a virtual village — to hit their goals!So now imagine if we can create games with goals of learning about finance, making a budget, opening a checking account or repaying debts?In this upcoming webinar, I and my team at Zogo will break down the fundamental principles of gamification backed by proprietary research developed at Duke University, and provide CUs with 3 practical ways of applying them to engage and attract the new generation of members.Register today — and let’s play some games!Don’t forget to join CUInsight and Zogo for our free webinar titled “3 Ways to Use Gamification to Attract Younger Members”, on Wednesday, September 2. Register yourself and a colleague here.last_img read more

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