Monday, August 24, 2015

The Importance of Barry Seal

Barry Seal
Barry Seal, the legendary drug plane pilot, is back in the news, thanks to a film about him starring Tom Cruise, who is now in Colombia.

Expect an exciting, shoot-em-up flic - which ignores Seal's real importance on the hemisphere's history.

Seal certainly did have an exciting life. According to the Spartacus website, Seal smuggled arms to Fidel Castro's Cuban rebels and later to the forces trying to overthrow Castro; Seal flew in the Vietnam war and for decades worked for the CIA. Seal eventually discovered that he could make lots more money hauling illegal substances than passengers - some perhaps for the CIA. Some even link Seal to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Seal was caught smuggling quaaludes into Florida, indicted, and agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities. In a plane equipped with hidden cameras, he picked up a load of cocaine in the Nicaragua ruled by the leftist Sandanistas, whom the Reagan administration considered a communist threat to the hemisphere.

The photos Seal brought back showed showing Medellin cartel leaders Pablo Escobar, Jorge Luis
Medellin cartel leaders load cocaine
onto Seal's plane in Nicaragua.
Ochoa and others loading cocaine into a C-123 transport plane with the help of a Nicaraguan government official - great evidence for the Reagan administration of the Sandinistas' evil nature. Reagan released the photos to win support for the U.S.-financed Contra war against the Sandinistas.

Seal was murdered in Feb. 1986 by Medellin cartel hit men while serving probation in a Salvation Army halfway house in Baton Rouge Louisiana.

The U.S. Congress had prohibited aid to the Contras, who had committed severe human rights violations. In response, the Reagan administration cooked up the scheme known as Iran-Contra, in which the U.S. illegally funnelled money from arms sales to Iran to the Nicaraguan Contras. Many say the scheme was worse than Watergate, but Reagan's popularity and great media skills enabled him to save his presidency.

The Contra scheme was later dropped, and Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was eventually elected president of Nicaragua, where he has shown himself to be a competent administrator but has restricted media rights and perpetuated himself in power. If Nicaraguan dictatorships of previous decades handed the nation's resources over to U.S. companies, Ortega seems to be giving them to the Chinese.

Seal may or may not have changed the America's history, but he was certainly a part of it.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

1 comment:

Shaun Attwood said...

After President Reagan showed the grainy photographs on TV of Pablo Escobar in Nicaragua loading drugs onto Barry’s plane, Pablo told his brother that he could not possibly have been in that photo because he never loaded drugs onto planes.