Las mafias cambian y crecen

BOGOTÁ – En décadas recientes los países de América Latina han realizado esfuerzos significativos en el fortalecimiento del Estado y la consolidación de la democracia en la región. Al mismo tiempo las redes criminales – entendidas como el conjunto de relaciones entre los agentes legales e ilegales que participan en actividades criminales – se han fortalecido. Ahora tienen un papel importante en las economías formales e informales de la región y en las instituciones políticas, erosionan el tejido social y amenazan los avances conseguidos en la región.

Las redes criminales distorsionan las más importantes fuerzas de cambio en América Latina: la globalización, la tecnología, la apertura de nuevos mercados, la cooperación regional y la democracia. En contextos de debilidad institucional, de desigualdades persistentes y de altos niveles de marginalidad y exclusión, estas fuerzas han abierto nuevas oportunidades para la difusión de la estructuras criminales. Hoy Latinoamérica tiene más democracia (formal), un mayor flujo de inversión y comercio exterior, una clase media en crecimiento y mayor desarrollo tecnológico que 20 años atrás. Y también más crimen organizado.

Las redes criminales han pasado por encima las instituciones legales y han tomado  ventaja de los cambios en las décadas recientes, aprovechando las lagunas del sistema internacional y las vulnerabilidades de las democracias latinoamericanas.  El resultado ha sido su expansión en los mercados internacionales, a través de un sistemas que se encuentra por fuera de la legalidad, basado en relaciones de clientelismo y corrupción. Antes de resistirse al cambio, las redes delictivas han adaptado las fuerzas de la modernización en su propio beneficio.

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