January 21, 2010
Mexican drug cartels are getting cocaine from Colombia’s biggest guerrilla group in a deal that increases the security threat to both nations, according to a document captured by Colombian military intelligence and to a government official in that country.
The agreement was discussed in a meeting between a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Raul Reyes, and an agent of a Mexican cartel at Reyes’s jungle hideout in mid- 2007, according to a letter Reyes wrote to other guerrilla commanders that was obtained by Bloomberg News.
[efoods]The pact to bypass middlemen has given Reyes’s group, known as the FARC, an opportunity to double its profit by selling directly to the Mexican cartel, said the government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The FARC earned at least $1 billion and maybe several times that amount in the past year, according to officials familiar with the group. The arrangement has strengthened the cartels at a time when they are under pressure from an offensive ordered by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, the Colombian official said.
“That would be a catastrophic quantum leap in terms of the internationalization of the FARC’s drug-trafficking patterns,” Jay Bergman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bogota- based director for the Andean region, said in a phone interview. “It would cut out the traditional drug-trafficker middleman and increase the amount of money the FARC would be able to earn per kilogram — profit that would be spent on bullets and armament to perpetuate the insurgency.”
FLASHBACK: NYSE Chief Meets Top Colombia Rebel Leader
June 26, 1999
Then NYSE chairman Richard Grasso meets with FARC leaders in Columbia, 1999
They said NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso flew into a demilitarized region of Colombia’s southern jungle and savanna for his talks with a member of the general secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The meeting was thought to be the first between a senior member of the FARC, which is radically opposed to capitalism, and a representative of one of the world’s top financial markets.
The news agency said Grasso had extended a personal invitation to leaders of the FARC, which is considered a ”terrorist” organization by the State Department, to visit Wall Street as soon as possible.
"I invite members of the FARC to visit the New York Stock Exchange so that they can get to know the market personally," Grasso was quoted as saying.