Illicit Networks and Politics in Latin America

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Language: English
Pages: 305
ISBN: 978-91-87729-70-6
Binding: Paperback
Co‑publisher: Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)
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Organized criminal networks are global phenomena that distort local and global economic markets, bring violence and blur the role of the state in providing basic services, all in the interest of increasing their wealth. The main weapon used by such networks is corruption—of politicians and of many of the state apparatuses in the countries in which they operate. This undermines the basic principles of democracy and puts the state at the mercy of illicit economic interests.

This is a global challenge. Latin America has particularly suffered from these issues for a number of reasons. The strong presence of illicit networks dedicated to illegal mining, the trafficking of exotic species, arms trafficking and, in particular, the production and sale of illegal drugs such as cocaine has created a massive inflow of illicit money. Together with the high cost of political activity in the region and difficulties in controlling political contributions, this has allowed organized crime to penetrate the political landscape. However, efforts made in different Latin American countries to confront these networks have seen significant achievements. There is a wealth of positive and negative experience on how these problems can be confronted that will be useful for countries in the same region and on other continents.

This book focuses on experiences in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. The authors draw on research that illustrates how relationships are forged between criminals and politicians. They identify numerous mechanisms for tackling these relations, and discuss both the achievements and the challenges concerning their practical application.

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