- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

CHILE

Conservative rivals refuse to cooperate

SANTIAGO — Chile’s conservative opposition, once united under the 17-year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, appears to be self-destructing less than a month before presidential elections.

Joaquin Lavin, a conservative former mayor of Santiago, is battling moderate Sebastian Pinera for the heart of Chile’s right 15 years after a center-left coalition replaced Gen. Pinochet. Both belong to the same rightist coalition, but are so at odds that they have refused to pledge each other support in case one goes to a January runoff against Socialist front-runner Michelle Bachelet, who is not expected to get the 50 percent needed to win the Dec. 11 vote outright.



PERU

Airline founder faces new charges

LIMA — The founder of Peru’s largest airline until he landed on Washington’s list of “drug kingpins” was arrested Saturday on cocaine trafficking and homicide charges.

Fernando Zevallos, who was added to the Bush administration’s list in June 2004, is already on trial for his reputed role in a thwarted 1995 cocaine shipment destined for Mexico. The new charges also include witness tampering, said Sonia Medina, state attorney for drug enforcement.

The inclusion of Zevallos on Washington’s list of drug kingpins precipitated the collapse of his airline, AeroContinente, which in 12 years had grown to dominate Peru’s domestic aviation market. The carrier reputedly was bankrolled by cocaine profits.

CUBA

3 pot smugglers sentenced to prison

HAVANA — A Cuban court sentenced three Jamaican men caught smuggling 1,340 pounds of marijuana to prison terms of up to 20 years, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported Saturday.

Rudolph Allen Black, Malson Cambell and Robert Wallace were arrested last November after their speedboat ran out of fuel and went adrift near Cuba’s northeastern coast.

Cuban officials said the men threw bales of marijuana overboard. Officials recovered and incinerated the drug.

Cambell was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Black to 18 years and Wallace 17 years, Granma reported.

Cuba harshly punishes drug runners to stop narcotics from entering the island, which is near drug-smuggling routes from South America and the Caribbean to the United States.

Weekly notes …

Mexico has captured the leader of a drug cartel that waged a bloody turf war near the U.S. border, the government said yesterday. Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said the arrest of Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, a surgeon known as the “Doctor,” was a mortal blow to the Juarez cartel, a loose affiliation of drug gangs from the western state of Sinaloa. … At first glance, Mexico’s Cozumel island — a Caribbean jewel ringed with coral reefs — looks like the site of a nuclear explosion. Yet unlike nearby Cancun, where high-rise resorts are nearly all shut for repairs after their beaches were sucked away by Hurricane Wilma last month, many of Cozumel’s hotels are open. Its best white sand beaches — which are natural rather than man-made like Cancun’s — remain intact. All the island needs now is for the tourists to return. “We depend on package tourists, and most have canceled their holidays until February. We’re dying for this to end,” said Kristi Groff, a diving instructor on Cozumel.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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