Illicit Networks and Politics in Latin America

This publication is available in print and electronic format
18 November 2014
978-91-87729-70-6 (Print)
Ivan Briscoe, Catalina Perdomo, Catalina Uribe Burcher
Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)
Available Languages:

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 state institutions. 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 the production and sale of illegal drugs 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 in different Latin American countries to confront these networks have seen significant achievements.

This report 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, and identify numerous mechanisms for tackling these relations.







1. Introduction

2. Project Development and Methodology

3. The Historical Development of the Nexus between Politics, Crime and the Economy in Latin America

4. Comparative Regional Analysis of the Nexus between Illicit Networks and Politics in Latin America

5. Colombia

6. Peru

7. Ecuador

8. Guatemala

9. Comparative Regional Analysis of Legislation to Combat Organized Crime and its Links with the Political Sphere

10. Conclusions and Recommendations

References and further reading

Related Content

Desert Flower, Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Desert Flower, Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

News Article
Colombian President and Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos with Daniel Zovatto

Colombian President and Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos with International IDEA’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Daniel Zovatto in the forum “In the road to peace – Political dialogue for democratic opening”, in Cartagena, Colombia, on 24 March 2017. During the forum the Special Electoral Mission presented its proposals for advancing political reform in Colombia. Photo credit: Presidency of the Republic of Colombia.

News Article
El Presidente de Colombia y Premio Nobel de la Paz Juan Manuel Santos, junto con Daniel Zovatto

El Presidente de Colombia y Premio Nobel de la Paz Juan Manuel Santos, junto con el Director Regional para América Latina y el Caribe de IDEA Internacional Daniel Zovatto en el foro “En la Ruta de la Paz – Diálogos políticos para la apertura democrática”, en Cartagena, Colombia, el 24 de marzo de 2017. Durante el foro se presentaron las propuestas de la Misión Electoral Especial para avanzar en una reforma política en Colombia. Crédito foto: Presidencia de la República de Colombia.

News Article