Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Geography of Drug-Running

They may not be in Colombia, but Mexican narcos are investing heavily in Bolivia, according to the latter nation's security service. Evidently Mexican and Colombian groups are cooperating to build mega-labs for processing cocaine in the South American nation.


jd said...

I have no reason not to believe that's happening, but it's worth noting that hardly a day passes without the Bolivian government blaming some crime problem on foreign "bandas." Peruvians usually assault, Brazilians smuggle drugs and illegally log, Argentines are the human traffickers, Colombians and Peruvians and now Mexicans manufacture or transport cocaine, etc. Considering the small population and geographic pattern of dispersal of Bolivians, there undoubtedly is a large structural element of foreigners involved in crime, but the speed with which blame is cast makes me take such statements with a grain of salt.

pc said...

That's interesting, I'd never heard it framed like that. I wonder if domestic politics plays a role, i.e. Evo feels like he'd vulnerable to charges that he's not doing enough about crime.

jd said...

Oh, definitely. Crime is on the rise, both on the street and the organized variety, but it's still not so chaotic that a "reforma ya" consensus has been reached in re the police and justice systems (lynchings, not a new phenomenon in Bolivia, do seem to be up in recent years though). Trying to deflect blame for rising crime is just second nature for any politician. But Bolivia's particular features - smaller population, poorer, kicked around by its neighbors - combined with the MAS's innate (and only partially irrational) paranoia about conspiracies against it definitely increase the marginal tendency to blame outsiders.