The International Politics of Drugs and Illicit Trade in the Americas
43 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2013 Last revised: 9 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 16, 2013
Illicit trade has long been a central feature of Latin America’s engagement in the world. In this chapter we first briefly sketch the scope and dimensions of illicit trade in the region, and stress the importance of various types of power asymmetries. Drawing on illustrations primarily from drug trafficking (by far the most studied and documented case), we then outline in a preliminary fashion some of the key issues in understanding transnational illicit flows and their impact on Latin America foreign and domestic policy and governance. We concentrate on four themes: 1) the relationship between illicit trade and diplomatic relations with the United States; 2) the relationship between illicit trade and democratic governance; 3) the relationship between illicit trade and organized violence; and 4) the relationship between illicit trade and neo-liberalism.
Keywords: illicit trade, Latin America, organized violence, neo-liberalism
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