The drug bust in Panama and the socialist Cuban dictatorship’s long history of drug trafficking

John Suarez reports in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

Cuba’s Revolutionary Cocaine Habit

The Castro regime’s decades long affair with cocaine trafficking

Andrea Torres of Local 10 News reported today that “Panama seized a shipment of cocaine valued at $90 million. It was inside of a container that was in a ship that was coming from Cuba, authorities said. Panamanian authorities intercepted the cargo Saturday at the Puerto de Cristóbal. There were 1,517 wide bricks of cocaine hidden inside of 46 large black duffle bags with wheels.” This means that the cocaine was seized on May 18, 2019.  According to shipping documents these items were supposedly bags of coal.

This was not the first time, three years ago in April of 2016 Panamanian police seized more than 400 kilograms of cocaine in a Cuban ship on its way to Belgium. However Panama is not the only channel.

Agence France-Presse reported on July 12, 2017 that Ermal Hoxha (age 42), the grandson of former Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was found guilty of belonging to a “criminal group involved in cocaine trafficking from Cuba through Albania to west European countries,” the court statement said. The dictator’s grandson was arrested in January 2015 and 264 pounds of cocaine were also confiscated.

The Castro regime’s documented involvement in drug trafficking stretches back at least 37 years to 1982. Cuba was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism on March 1, 1982, less than three months after the US State Department confirmed that the Cuban government was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democratic government.

Noriega’s link to Castro and Cocaine
During General Manuel Noriega’s 1992 trial information emerged publicly implicating the Castro regime that Sun Sentinel reported at the time:

“Federal prosecutors say Noriega traveled to Havana to ask [Fidel] Castro to mediate a potentially deadly dispute with top members of Colombia`s Medellin cocaine cartel. They say the cartel chiefs were upset because a major drug lab had been seized in Panama despite payment of millions of dollars in protection money to Noriega. According to the Noriega indictment, Castro negotiated a peace accord between the cartel and Noriega at the 1984 meeting. The allegation forms a cornerstone of the racketeering and drug trafficking charges against Noriega.”

At the same time convicted cartel leader Carlos Lehder implicated Raul Castro and U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco “to route cocaine flights through Cuba.” Capitol Hill Cubans blogged how two years later, a federal indictment listed General Raul Castro as part of a conspiracy that smuggled seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period but the Clinton administration overruled prosecutors. 

In a 1991 Frontline documentary, Cuba and Cocaine, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jeff Karonis, stated, “We would observe in the middle of the day an air drop going on inside Cuban waters. The scenario would be for a small twin-engine airplane with maybe 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of cocaine to fly over Cuba, drop the drugs to a predesignated rendezvous point to several boats. Then it would exit back down off Cuba, and many times a Cuban military vessel would be in the immediate vicinity, right on scene with them.” 

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