As Evo wins another five years in power, he faces the reality that his country is turning into a center for drug trafficking in South America. Can he stop transnational organized crime taking root?
Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.
It is important to note that InSight Crime does not believe that Bolivia has been taken over by transnational organized crime (TOC), nor is even close to it. However, the country is vulnerable and the opportunities and potential for earnings from the drug trade are currently too high for international criminal groups to ignore.
It is hard not to like Pedro. He is bright, charming and speaks flawless English. He is also a career criminal, from a criminal clan. Now 40, his criminal life started at 15, and he knows the underworld in Santa Cruz intimately.
Bolivia’s leading anti-drug official, Sabino Mendoza, is well aware of the challenges that drug trafficking and transnational organized crime present to his landlocked Andean nation. However, he is convinced that the country is on the right track to neutralize these threats.
Antonio* laughed as he pointed to the sign above the entrance to Bolivia’s most notorious prison. “Rehabilitation centre? This is where you come if you want to find out what makes crime truly organized.”