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Colombian Organized Crime: From Drug Trafficking to Parastatal Bands and Widespread Corruption

  • Francisco E. Thoumi
Chapter
Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 11)

Abstract

This essay traces the evolution of Organized Crime (OC) in Colombia in the post WWII period. It also highlights the country’s structure: its geography, historical and institutional development that made it very vulnerable to the development of transnational OC. By today’s definition, OC has always existed in Colombia but it was a local fixture. The development of the illegal drug industry in the 1970s globalized Colombian OC. It is shown that when the illegal cocaine industry started it was dominated by two large cartels (drug lords) and then in their adaptation to government actions it evolved into one controlled by warlords (guerrillas and paramilitary groups) and finally, after the government improved its capacity to fight the guerrillas and negotiated with paramilitary groups, has become fragmented and dominated by parastatal bands that control the political establishment in many areas and also have become involved in many other criminal activities. These bands have increasingly developed links with international criminal organizations. In this process, OC has penetrated the political structures of many regions and many government agencies and it diversified from illegal drugs into illegal money making activities, generating widespread corruption. The essay also schematically compares Colombia with Mexico and presents a few conclusions that are not optimistic about the possible modernization of the Colombian state in the short term.

Keywords

Organize Crime Drug Trafficking Criminal Organization Trafficking Organization Paramilitary Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lozano Long Institute of Latin American StudiesUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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