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article imageOp-Ed: Will Colombia Arrest of Drug Lord Really Stop the Trade

By Carol Forsloff     Apr 16, 2009 in World
Colombia's most powerful drug lord was captured Wednesday. He was found not in some glamorous setting but hiding out under a banana tree. Now one less person is peddling the drugs that fuel many of the world's problems.
Hundreds of police officers swarmed through the jungles of Colombia in order to capture Daniel Rendon Herrera. This colorful character is referred to as a "far right" warlord by the media and by President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia as "one of the most feared drug traffickers in the world." According to reports made by the national police director General Oscar Naranjo, the organization run by "Don Mario," as the drug lord was commonly called, was responsible for 3000 murders during the past 18 months. He also is said to have commanded hundreds of people in his army and having shipped approximately 100 tons of cocaine to the United States where he is expected to be extradited.
Most of those Rendon and his thugs were reported to have killed were rival drug lords in turf wars over who would control the drug trade in certain areas. Rendon himself arose to power when other other powerful leaders were captured or killed. Prior to his capture Rendon is said to have offered assassins $1000 for each police officer they killed to prevent him from being arrested. Colombia had a $2 million reward posted for information leading to Rendon's arrest. He and his army were said to be involved with the Mexican traffickers.
Given this major event in the capture of a drug kingpin, the future of U.S. and Colombia relations will likely be explored. There have been issues related to drug trafficking and the government's responses and internal problems that have interrupted trade relations between Colombia and the United States for some time. Drugs have spawned considerable corruption, according to experts; and the government's response to various social and economic concerns raised questions about how much the United States should be involved in trade and foreign policy issues. This has been true despite the close ties between the two countries.
Will the capture of Rendon be sufficient to demonstrate that Columbia has a coherent drug plan? That will likely be the question given the concerns expressed by another major figure who was interviewed in 2007 about drugs and the government of Columbia. Salvatore Mancusco was another strong man against leftist rebels maintained that Colombia doesn't take a tough enough stance against the drug trade that has promoted the insurgency. He declared that the demand from Europe and America for drugs will continue to play a strong role in the cocaine trade until an effective plan to combat drugs is undertaken.
President Barack Obama is to meet with Mexican leaders this week including President Calderon. Among the topics reported to be discussed is the drug violence. This newest arrest of a major drug figure will likely provide some platform for discussion given the relationships between Mexico and Colombia in the drug trade.
How Rendon's capture will affect the drug policy and plans of Colombia and the affect on problems of drug coming in through the Mexican border will likely be a major point brought up this week among the leaders of the United States, Colombia and Mexico. Whether the arrest will have a major effect on the flow of drugs will be a likely critical issue in the affairs of these countries.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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