Scandal Over "Cuba-Bound" Weapons Unfolds in Colombia

Monday, May 25, 2015
The Colombian newspaper, El Espectador, has published an investigative report on the mysteries surrounding the Dan Da Xia, a Chinese vessel caught carrying 15 containers of heavy weapons hidden as a cereal shipment.

The shipment was discovered in Cartagena, Colombia on February 28th, 2015. It consisted of 100 tons of explosives, 2.6 million detonators, 99 projectile heads and around 3,000 artillery shells.

The containers revealed the weapons were from the Chinese arms manufacturer, Norinco, with the recipient purportedly being Tecnoimport, a shadow company of the Cuban military. They were supposed to be delivered to the much-hyped Port of Mariel facility, which is also owned by the Cuban military.

However, China-Cuba weapons transactions would otherwise be legal, so why were they hidden as cereal cargo?

Moreover, what was the purpose of the vessel's stop in Cartagena and later Barranquilla?

No answers have been given.

On April 21st, after the ship was held in Cartagena for over a month-and-a-half, a Colombian judge ordered the vessel to leave the country, for the weapons posed a grave security threat to the population. However, the ship's captain would remain in Colombia for prosecution.

Last week, Colombian legislators pressed the Santos Administration on several other issues regarding the shipment:

Why wasn't the illegal weapons shipment destroyed?

The Santos Administration argues that it didn't have the capacity to destroy it, which many Colombian military experts disagree with.

Colombian legislators also revealed how similar weapons from China's Norinco had been confiscated throughout the country -- mostly from the FARC -- over the last decade. What a coincidence!

Those captured weapons have always been destroyed.

In 2007-2008, the Colombian government even sent a diplomatic protest to the Chinese government after 12,000 Norinco-manufactured arms were confiscated.

As we've previously posted, evidence continues to accumulate that the shipment was actually being smuggled -- by the Cuban military -- for FARC narco-terrorists.

Of course, the timing was particularly bad for both the Obama Administration, which sought to remove Cuba from the state-sponsors of terrorism list, and the Santos Administration, which didn't want to add any hiccups to its "peace negotiations" with the FARC in Havana.

And at a recent Senate hearing on State Department authorization, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, John Feeley, tried to wordsmith around the incident.

Thus, silence and impunity prevailed (for now).