HomeNewsBriefGuyana Is Becoming a ‘Narco-State’: Ex-Military Commander
BRIEF

Guyana Is Becoming a ‘Narco-State’: Ex-Military Commander

CARIBBEAN / 10 APR 2014 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

A former military commander in Guyana has sounded the alarm that the country is in danger of becoming a “narco-state,” with the emergence of ties to European organized crime and a rising role as a transit nation.

David Granger, a former commander of the Guyana Defense Force and a political opposition leader, told Congress during a budgetary debate that “Guyana is sleepwalking, step by step, into narco-statehood,” reported the Guyana Times.

“Narco-trafficking is the engine of growth that is driving the country’s economy,” he said. Granger spoke about the problems that drug trafficking has generated in the small country — which sits on the northeastern shoulder of South America — including gang warfare, money laundering, armed robberies and murders.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

The ex-commander said the country’s drug traffickers had strong links with the Gambino and Bonanno mob families in New York, as well as Italy’s most powerful mafia organization, the ‘Ndrangheta.

He also outlined how the country’s hinterlands — which border Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname — have become key corridors for arms and drug smugglers.

InSight Crime Analysis

Guyana’s geography, offering access to key drug transit nations in West Africa and surrounded by porous borders with major drug trafficking nations, makes it an ideal jumping off point for smugglers.

The country’s increasingly worrisome situation was pointed out in a 2012 report, which found rising homicides connected to street gangs, the presence of larger drug trafficking organizations, and criminal ties with the political class and security forces. In a recent case, US and Italian authorities dismantled a billion-dollar drug smuggling operation that used a Guyanese shipping company to transport cocaine and heroin in consignments of fruit and fish to a port in Calabria, Italy, where the ‘Ndrangheta is based.

Granger’s stark assessment that Guyana is becoming a “narco-state” was likely a call to the country’s politicians and law enforcement, who are often corrupt or lack the political will to address these problems. Guyana is further affected by the fact it has limited resources to combat drug traffickers, as highlighted by President Donald Ramotar recently requesting international assistance to investigate the Italy case.

Guyana’s neighbors, Suriname and French Guiana, are also largely overlooked countries in South America that serve as key drug transit routes. All three are former European colonies, and these historical cultural ties likely continue to bind them to the continent, contributing to their drug trafficking appeal for shipments bound for Europe’s expanding market.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 29 JAN 2013

Cuban President Raul Castro urged fellow Latin American leaders to follow Cuba's tough anti-drug policies, saying he would not…

CARIBBEAN / 19 FEB 2014

Jamaica has passed controversial new anti-gang legislation, which opponents fear will criminalize broad sectors of vulnerable youth, and even…

CARIBBEAN / 24 SEP 2013

The leader of an armed gang in Haiti has threatened to take revenge if three "innocent" young people arrested…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…