"Greed knows no ideology," which helps explain why groups across the ideological spectrum in Colombia, from leftist guerillas to right-wing paramilitaries, have sought to profit off of the cocaine trade since the 1970s. In a piece for "The American Interest" reviewing Aldo Civico's new release, "The Para-State: An Ethnography of Colombia's Death Squads," Associate Professor of Political Science Russell Crandall and Savannah Haeger ‘16 analyze the changing criminal landscape of Colombia, and the impact of the cocaine trade on Colombian rule of law.
As narcotraffickers transitioned from Civico's so-called "Para-State," where the state and prominent players in civil society supported the work of the paramilitaries, to their more recent incarnation as narcotics-driven Bacrim [criminal bands], the "trail of blood" following the supply chain of cocaine continues to turn an ever-deeper shade of red. Consumers of cocaine, high on ignorance as much as drugs, perpetuate the power and control that criminal traffickers have over regions like the Middle Magdalena. Like combating an addiction, it will be difficult for Colombia to shed its overwhelming dependence on cocaine and the groups that got the country hooked.