The Politics of Drug Violence
Criminals, Cops and Politicians in Colombia and Mexico
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vary from country to country and from era to era. In The Politics of Drug Violence, Angelica Duran-Martinez shows how variation in drug violence results from the complex relationship between state power and criminal competition. Drawing on remarkably extensive fieldwork, this book compares five
cities that have been home to major trafficking organizations for the past four decades: Cali and Medellin in Colombia, and Ciudad Juarez, Culiacan, and Tijuana in Mexico. She shows that violence escalates when trafficking organizations compete and the state security apparatus is fragmented. However, when the criminal market is monopolized and the state security apparatus cohesive, violence tends to be more hidden and less frequent. The size of drug profits does not determine
violence levels, and neither does the degree of state weakness. Rather, the forms and scale of violent crime derive primarily from the interplay between marketplace competition and state cohesiveness. An unprecedentedly rich empirical account of one of the worst problems of our era, the book will reshape our
understanding of the forces driving organized criminal violence in Latin America and elsewhere.