Minister of Government and Justice Predicts More Clashes With The FARC
Wednesday, March 10 2010 @ 09:16 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
"We will do whatever we have to do in order to push these people closer to their borders or within its limits," he said, stressing the incursion of the FARC into Panamanian territory "is a reality."
When asked about the risk of Panama becoming involved in the Colombian internal conflict, Mulino acknowledged: "this possibility always exists." "I do not say no, this is risky," he continued, "I am clear this is risky business, to combat it is not always sympathetic to those on the other side of the sidewalk, but you have to do it." He said, however, Panama is not going to get involved in "outside fights" and he again denied the existence of an alleged secret pact with Colombia in the fight against insurgents.
After the seizure of 54 tons of drugs confiscated in 2009, Mulino said the recent U.S. report on drugs used some expressions that are "are not the most happy" to assert Panama was the "mouth of the funnel" of the movement of drugs in South America that it's democracy was at risk. Despite this, the minister said the document "is perhaps a little positive and highlights the work" of the Panamanian government, while stressing collaboration on "training" and "intelligence" with the United States.
However, the minister pointed out that the U.S. contribution "monetarily is very low" and he underscored the need for the US to dedicate funding as part of a plan against drug trafficking for the region similar to the Mérida Plan, which basically covers Mexico and some Central American countries, or the Plan Colombia. Mulino supported the merits for such a request with arguments like that Panama seized $30 billion dollars worth of drugs in 2009, and that "according to U.S. spokespersons" your country last year seized 22 tons more than the U.S.. "
He said that according to "international advisers," 250 tons of cocaine passed through Panama in 2009, but stressed that figure cannot be "scientifically proven." He said that in Panama, the cocaine departs from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia towards the United States, and that the "tentacles" of the Mexican drug cartels have been felt for the past three years, something that in his opinion is due to the "fragmentation of the Colombian drug cartels." He revealed that Mexico's Sinaloa cartel had the "ambition" of passing 200 tons of cocaine through Panama last year, but they only managed to get 70 tons through. "It's intelligence information," he said. (Source - Panama America)