COLOMBIA: Deadly Cargo

Breaking the 430-mile journey from the port of Buenaventura to Bogotá, six government trucks braked to a stop one afternoon last week beside the old Pacific railroad station in Cali, the palm-shaded heart city of the rich Cauca River Valley. In a district jammed with factories, warehouses and slums, the drivers bedded down for the night with their cargo—more than 30 tons of high explosives. At 1:07 a.m., like 30 blockbusters, the cargo blew up, in a tower of red flame and seething of black smoke.

More than a mile from the station, panes of glass vanished from their frames,...

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