Fight: the Journal of Alternative Politics

Letter to the Editor - Ron Bassett

Before DEA Agent Leonard Gibbs was assassinated, he met with me in private to discuss the Colombian drug war. As a DEA undercover, for him to meet with me at all, as exposure would mean risking his career and life. That Gibbs, familiar with my series on the FARC, sought me out and requested an interview, demonstrates that he knew his life was already in danger.

At the time, I was working on an article researching, to the fullest extent possible, how the money given by the United States to the government of Colombia to fight the war on drugs had been spent, and assumed that Gibbs wanted to assist me with the story.

When Gibbs met me in a restaurant in Bogota, he seemed very fearful and was only able to speak to me for a few minutes in hushed English. He told me that there was a new drug on the market - extracted from a tropical flower known as lenguaje - which was believed to have military uses. Cultivation of the flower, he said, was being tightly controlled by a conspiracy of interests which seemed to include a Nazi, former CIA agents, and an untouchable cocaine kingpin known as León - a 22-year-old believed responsible for murdering 56 people, most of whom he had killed himself.

Leonard Gibbs was last seen the following day and then disappeared. I don't know why he chose to tell me what he told me, and, in making it public, I am less afraid of being assassinated than I am of undermining my reputation as a responsible journalist. Ultimately, it is to honor Leonard Gibbs, who died in the service of the war on drugs.