The Russians are Back!
|General Victor Ivanov|
Those of us who check traffic on narco-blogs have noticed a regular increase in the number of hits from the Russian Federation, which is taking a much greater interest in North America and Latin American affairs (through the Internet) than they have since the fall of the old Soviet Union. Some of the readers here may find this interesting and others may say, "Yesterday's News".
The Russian Federation is funding an anti-narcotics and intelligence training center in Nicaragua. I'm not sure when it will stand up, but my sense is that it should be operational by the end of summer. The Russians want it to be a fusion center for law enforcement throughout Central America. Since the US-Mexican relationship has been 'frosty' since Presidente Pena Nieto took office, the Mexicans are likely to send people to be trained there too. Russian Federal Drug Control Service Chief, Victor Ivanov stated that thirty Russian subject matter/police experts will train about 100 Latin American police students every year. (more information on this)
This blog has shared information on the details of the trafficking arrangements with Russian Mafia groups who purchase drugs from Mexican Drug Cartels in the past. The Russians are taking their efforts to control the nearly one billion metric tons of cocaine that flow through Central America on an annual basis. Most of the cocaine that moves through Central America lands in the United States and Canada. The cocaine that makes its way to Russia either moves from Brazil and through Africa to Russia or from Ecuador and Peru to Russia.
|Panamanian President Manuel Noreaga|
wears his Israeli jump wings proudly.
Is Central America a big hub for Russian-bound cocaine? No, not so much. But Russia and Nicaragua have old ties so it makes sense that the center goes there.
What is the REAL reason for setting up this academy? The Russians are taking a play from the Israeli playbook. The students develop personal friendships with their teachers and the Russians provide a turn-key intelligence system that they use. The Russians then develop reliable local government sources in Latin America. It works. They simply re-inventing the Israeli wheel. (note defunct Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreaga, left)
I give the Russians high marks for having the wisdom and foresight for getting back in the game. If I was a Russian (and I'm not), I'd do the same thing. The cost of seeding people with whom you have a relationship in their own governments is much cheaper and more effective than cold recruiting.
Russia is moving big on Brazil in terms of both intelligence collection and economic ties as is China. While the Chinese are not so obtuse as to put an intelligence/anti-narcotics training center in Nicaragua, they simply work differently than the Russians.