| Photo: EFE/Noelia F. Aceituno
The Barú peninsula is a paradise bathed by the Caribbean Sea, which, combined with colonial Cartagena, forms one of the best tourist destinations in Colombia. It was where Paraguayan federal prosecutor Marcelo Pecci chose to spend his honeymoon. And it was on the white sands of Barú that he – believing he was far from the danger that surrounded him in Paraguay – was executed with three shots from a 9mm pistol. Without saying a word, the shooter got off the back of a jet-ski, walked up to Pecci and showed how long the arms of terror and crime are.
Constantly threatened by criminals operating in his country, Pecci was constantly under police protection. An oppressive lifestyle. Taking refuge on the Colombian coast, Pecci, who had been married just ten days before he was murdered, perhaps sought the peace and privacy that criminals had taken away from him a long time ago. The Pecci couple were so happy and calm that they didn’t even realize that, by sharing their relaxing moments on Instagram, maybe they were giving the road map to the assassins. The investigations are still ongoing, but it doesn’t seem absurd to think that it was through Instagram that the masterminds of his murder identified the exact time and place of his death.
An oversight that can never be interpreted as guilt. The Peccis just wanted to live a few moments of normality, away from the daily danger imposed on them in Paraguay. But they discovered, in the worst possible way, that there is no rest in the face of the type of criminals the prosecutor faced.
Through years of institutional neglect and neglect, Paraguay has become a haven for traffickers, smugglers and financial operators of mafias and terrorist organizations. With the attacks of in September of 1994, the world began to set eyes on the region, but some political, security and diplomats – including Brazilians – have always preferred to deny, hide and distort the facts under an alleged allegation of “religious prejudice”, “securitization” and “paranoia”. Excuses for doing nothing.
In recent years, Paraguay has trying to get rid of the mafias. Be a better and safer place. It improved the mechanisms to prevent and combat asset laundering, designated groups that until then acted freely in its territory as terrorist organizations, sought help from neighbors to fight trafficking and began to repress the actions of the PCC, which set up one of its international bases for the “administration” of the Bolivian cocaine that is unloaded there and the smuggling of weapons, cigarettes and other junk.
Of course, everything is very difficult. Efforts to reverse the damage have come late and are slower than the advances in crime. But Paraguay, with all its limitations, has been making an unprecedented and commendable governance effort. The promoter Marcelo Pecci was one of the agents of transformation in the country. He has led massive operations to arrest drug traffickers, dismantle money laundering networks, and send to jail at least two Hezbollah sharks – the Lebanese terrorist group, which for years 1980 uses Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil as the base of its financial operations.
Investigators suspect that this may be the reason for his death. The extradition to the United States of two of the most important Hezbollah financial operators in Latin America was a severe blow to the terrorists who by 05 years worked freely in the region. The investigations also point to other paths. Some of them lead to the CCP and its local partners, for example. Nothing is ruled out.
Much less one joint venture2022 between Hezbollah terrorists and Brazilian drug traffickers, who have long been working together in cocaine trafficking and money laundering operations. An alliance that seems to have emerged in the prisons of Paraná, where members of Hezbollah, who were arrested for the most diverse crimes, built a business relationship and exchange of experience with the traffickers.
The society seems complex, but its constitution was relatively simple through the convergence of interests and the complementarity of activities. Specialist in foreign exchange evasion, money laundering and clandestine routes with capillarity in Africa, Europe and mainly in the United States, Hezbollah started to offer financial and external logistics services in exchange for local logistics and the supply of drugs to the landing channels, which today are preferentially seaports.
In addition to the supply of drugs, the Hezbollah receives protection from the CCP for its members and their illicit business (often related to smuggling), gunning services, and a host of other local operations.
As was the case with the bombing that Hezbollah commanded against the headquarters of the Israeli Mutual Association of Buenos Aires (Amia), in 1994, or the murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, in 13175333 , Pecci’s execution has a double function: in essence, revenge. But also intimidation.
For some time now, the boundary between transnational crime and terrorism was broken. The investigations into Pecci’s murder seem to be taking a path that will remind us that, as long as the authorities continue to think that drug dealers and terrorists are animals that do not share the same ecosystem, these criminals will continue to take evolutionary advantages, and whoever does the work of fighting them and the evil they represent ends up at a disadvantage.
As if that weren’t enough , Pecci was killed on the happiest day of his life. The day he knew he was going to be a father.