LATIN AMERICA: Colombia Defense Industry, Ecuador Border Clash, Cocoa Growing Down, Kerry to Visit Brazil, Colombia

August 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

Colombia Defense Industry

(CIA World Factbook)

(CIA World Factbook)

After decades of a brutal insurgency by Marxist rebels and equally violent battles with narcotics cartels, Colombia is looking to regenerate and expand its defense industries, according to UPI.

Quoting the Bogota-based newspaper, El Espectador, UPI reports that South Korean defense company LIG Nex1 said it will help Colombia’s armed forces develop sonars and radars for the country’s defense sector. Colombia recently bought 16 missiles from LIGNex1 to be deployed on four Colombian Navy vessels, according to the newspaper.

LIG Nex1 will work with the Colombian defense industry installations in Villavicencio in central Colombia to develop projects to design, develop, manufacture, assemble, integrate and test the operation of sensors, UPI reported.

Colombia has long had close ties with the U.S. military — especially in battling illegal drugs and improvised explosive device technology. But according to the Colombian business magazine, Dinero, South Korean corporations — like LIGNex1’s parent, LG Group — have been increasing investments in Colombia from $30 million in 2007 to $160 million last year. However, the magazine also notes Brazil, Chile and Mexico do much more export and import business with South Korea than Colombia.

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Colombia-Ecuador Border Clash

An Ecuadorean soldier was killed and another wounded in a firefight with guerillas at the border with Colombia. A Colombian army general identified the shooters on the Colombian side of the border as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by the Spanish acronym, FARC.

FARC, has waged a violent insurgency against the government in Bogota since the 1960s that has claimed thousands of lives.   FARC guerillas often seek refuge in Ecuador’s forests when being pursued by Colombian troops. here have been clashes in the past between the rebels and Ecuador’s army, but this was the first known instance of an Ecuadorean soldier being killed in a clash with a Colombian irregular, the Associated Press reported.

Ecuador’s top military leader said the two-hour firefight errupted when his troops surrounded FARC rebels on Ecuador’s side of the San Miguel River, which separates the country from a cocaine producing region of Colombia. Colombian authorities say many FARC units finance themselves through cocaine trafficking.

— — —

Colombia Cocoa Production

Map from UN Office of Crime and Drugs

2010 map from UN Office on Crime and Drugs

Cocoa growing in Colombia — the world’s biggest cocaine producer — fell by 25 percent in 2012, according to a United Nations report.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said farmland under cocoa cultivation shrank from 64,000 hectares (xx acres) last year from 135,000 hectares in 2011.  A survey jointly conducted by Colombia’s government and UNODC shows that coca bush cultivation affected 23 of the country’s 32 departments; decreased in 17 departments; increased in the 3 departments of Norte de Santander, Caquetá and Chocó; and remained unchanged in the remaining 3.

Peru, Colombia and Bolivia are the world’s biggest coca producers. (See story below)

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Bolivian Cocoa Down, Too

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime says cocoa cultivation is down again in Bolivia for the second year in a row.

Bolivia’s coca production dropped by 7 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the UN report. This follows an 11 percent reduction from the year before, according to analysis by InSight Crime and reported in the Christian Science Monitor.

The biggest drop came in the largest coca growing region of the country known as Yungas de la Paz, which went from 18,200 hectares to 16,900 hectares, according to the UNODC. The agency says that two major factors played a role in the drop: 1) the government’s efforts to “eradicate/rationalize” the size of the fields and 2) the drop in yield due to the long periods in which the fields have been cultivated.

— — —

Kerry to Colombia, Brazil

(State Department photo)

(State Department photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to travel to Colombia and Brazil next week (August 12-13) to improve “cooperation and dialogue with important regional partners,” according to the State Department.

Kerry will visit Bogota, Colombia, on August 12. From Bogota, he will travel to Brasilia, Brazil, where he will spend the day on August 13.

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Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, International Crime, Latin America, National Security and Defense, Special Operations, Technology, Unconventional Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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