<< 7: The Impact of the INT on the Colombian Judicial System || Glossary
To capture the complexity of the INTs impact upon the economic and legal institutions
of the Colombia state I borrow across several theoretical foundations concerning
state-civil society relations, order and change. Placing the state at the center of my
investigation is consistent with and goes beyond the comparative politics paradigm of the
modern state as a shaper of previously traditional societies. It is consistent with the
institutional state, its offices, roles and organizations as the repository of society's
authority. It goes beyond modern-traditional and center-periphery models in its focus on
the state's actions in society. The assumption is that social change occurs through formal
and informal organizations and rules that exercise social control. Contestation over who
makes the rules that define the authoritative allocation of resources is at the center of
the struggle for social control.
Studies of the Colombian state, within the comparative politics
paradigm, have characterized it as a strong, centralized, hierarchical, and oligarchical
state as demonstrated by the persistence of civilian government over time. Constraints
upon the state, within this paradigm, are those "imposed by the rivals to central power,
those who constitute an alternative state leadership."(1)
This approach cannot account for other social organizations, such as the INT in Colombia,
which may organize and provide selected alternative incentives and sanctions to the state.
Expanding the institutional approach to include organizations,
operating formally and informally, in a struggle for social control reveals a weak
Colombian state. It is a weak state, not from any sense of a central, external
threat, but weak in its levels of compliance, or the capacity to enforce its rules; weak
in the levels of participation or its capacity to organize the population for specialized
tasks within state institutions; and weak in its perceived legitimacy or acceptance of the
state's rules of the game. Migdal notes, "The greater the social control, the more
currency-compliance, participation, and legitimacy, is available to state leaders to
achieve their goals."(2) This study argues that the
Colombian state was never terribly well-functioning. Its history is that of a series of
lost opportunities to consolidate its social control. Generally speaking, it has lost such
opportunities by its inability to use economic bonanzas to strengthen its state
institutions. Moreover dealing with economic bonanzas has consistently been within the
purview of the producer associations. Another area of lost opportunities has been the
delayed decision to reevaluate and redesign its judicial system. Colombia's archaic
justice system failed to meet the needs of a changing polity and, as such, encouraged
circumventive behavior including corruption and dissociation from the states' rules of
Defining the Colombian state as strong because of low levels
of military rule and moderate economic growth overlook real changes generated by
organizations peripheral to the state and the degree to which they affect the nature and
capabilities of the state. In this study I have argued that the illegal narcotics trade as
manifested by the cocaine cartels are just such organizations. The two hypotheses
originally offered in the study's design proposed that: 1) the INT has negatively affected
the capacity of the Colombian state to consolidate and increase its control over an
effective economic program and 2) the INT has negatively affected the Colombian judicial
system by eroding the willingness and capacity to uphold and interpret the law. These
hypotheses formed a subset of the basic proposition that the INT has reduced the autonomy
of the Colombian state through a process of deinstitutionalization that has curbed the
capacity of the state to control or reverse the process.
The evidence disconfirms my hypotheses as stated and suggests that a
higher level of complexity and nuance are required to better understand the impact of the
INT on Colombian economic and legal institutions. This complexity is more readily apparent
when a historical evolution of the INT is developed. The hypothesis assumes a Colombian
state that consolidated and continued to consolidate control over an effective economic
program. Implied in the assumption is a level of state centralization accommodating
competing interests in a fair and open manner that did not, in fact, exist at the
beginning of Phase One of the INT. To the extent economic institutions and interests were
dominated by a single sector of the Colombian population, the economic elites and their
respective producer associations, economic programs had pockets of consolidation.
While often bitter competition existed among economic elites, it remained an oligarchical
elite that provided few avenues for the admission of new players as it guided and assisted
the government in designing and implementing economic policies. Thus the Colombian state
was still struggling to centralize control when the INT became dominant in the underground
It is noted that traditional mechanisms used by the Colombian state
to meet power challengers consisted of political mobilization(channeling people into
organization frameworks) and cooptation. The fragmented institutional structure of
Colombia's various economic agencies during this period was an excellent organizational
fit for the INT since it consisted of similarly dispersed decision-making and
decentralized local operations. Thus the Colombian state appeared content to allow what
was perceived as just another local clientelistic behavior, albeit illegal, to be dealt
with on the local organizational level.
When López Michelsen sought to de-link Colombia's development
from foreign banks in a move to increase Colombia's political and economic autonomy
internationally, it is not clear the move was at all in response to the growing INT. His
decision to reopen the side window at the BdeR to capture the growing
narco-dollars represents, according to Palacio and Rojas, a continued policy of using parainstitutionalism
by Colombia's presidents to achieve their political goals.(3)
That the GOC benefitted from opening the "side window" at the Central Bank was
incidental to López Michelsen's attempt to consolidate an economic program in desperate
need of a stronger financial foundation. Neither he nor the GOC could have anticipated
that the development of the rapidly growing financial and industrial sectors would become
oligopolized among not the older established groups, but among newer groups who had
benefitted from their transactions on the local levels. The evidence suggests that the
rapid economic growth experienced through various bonanzas during Phase One left the
Colombian state in a position of having to play catchup in terms of restructuring
and centralizing economic institutions as the need for greater coordination through
centralization became more pressing. Thus, until Phase Two when the INT developed a more
centralized structure with effective coordinating mechanisms for developing specialized
competencies, its impact on Colombian economic institutions occurred primarily at the
local level. It is important to note, however, that control of social organization at the
local level was often exercised by the producer associations who, excepting the political
parties, had the strongest links to the national government.
During Phase Two, however, the INT developed significant power to
challenge the Colombian government's capacity to mount and control an effective economic
policy. First, the sheer bulk of wealth generated by the cocaine trade meant that the
INT's informal institutions could no longer accommodate its needs. As an illegal entity it
had no formal legal apparatus through which to institutionalize its commercial practices.
Thus it began to appropriate, through bribery or infiltration, formal economic
institutional structures of the Colombian state. This added constituents in various
branches to a considerable and growing constituency of the INT during Phase Two. Moreover,
legal enterprises from the INT developed a constituency that, perceived as legitimate
actors within the economy, could articulate the interests of the INT when necessary.
The Colombian government again tried what had previously worked for
them in dealing with political challengers: political mobilization and cooptation. But the
recession of 1982 increased the fragility of the Colombian economy and Betancour was
forced to address the issue of fragmented economic institutional structures before the
very real threat of economic collapse. Periodic amnesties were offered cartel leaders in
exchange for investing their funds in legal enterprises. Development of parallel credit
markets and parallel currency exchanges suggests the Colombian government again found
itself in the position of playing catchup in the fortifying and restructuring of
Colombian economic institutions. Meanwhile, networks formed in Phase One between the INT,
local banks, and financial groups allowed limited preexisting forms of economic
parainstitutionalism to expand. Parainstitutional growth was supported and advanced by the
INT's access to newly developed technology.
Structural realignment of institutions by a government takes time to
design, implement and even longer to gain acceptance and habituation by the polity.
Meanwhile, the Colombian state faced a growing gap, exacerbated by the INT, between the
legal function of an institution and a political function of an institution. This means
that the executive, to acquire greater control over economic institutions, implemented
policies clearly designed to gather INT monies to increase international reserves. This
would be considered an illegal function while attempting to fulfill the political function
of stabilizing the economy. Palacio and Rojas argue that, because of the illegality of the
INT, there developed not only a parainstitutionalism outside the government, but a parainstitutionalism
within the government to find political expression required by the new level of capital
from the INT.(4)
The first formal and legal institutional mechanisms to capture
narco-profits were put into place in 1985. These represent the first documented effect of
the INT on Colombian economic institutions. Prior efforts were accomplished by
presidential decrees frequently issued during a state of siege. The Colombian Congress
authorized a special bond issue to repatriate narco-profits through the purchase of
government bonds traded on the international market. This did little to enhance Colombia's
international image as it sought additional credits to manage its national debt. Moreover,
there was a growing tension between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of
the GOC as efforts by Betancour and later Barco to reform income tax legislation were
rejected by Congress or deemed unconstitutional by the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice.
Social relations in the Congress remained dominated by clientelism.
This was not the patronage-client model of the bipartisan National Front, but a
brokerage-client model that emerged in the wake of the National Front regimes.(5) As the study demonstrates, during this period the INT became
increasingly active in its efforts to gain influence through legitimate means, either as
actual representatives in Congress or as staunch supporters of existing representatives.
When this failed, the INT resorted to bribery and coercion to advance favorable
legislation and block unfavorable legislation. It is difficult to see how this could have
occurred on any but the local level had not there emerged an increasingly coherent
leadership among the crime families of the INT. An organizational shift to a hierarchical
model enabled the emergence of elite leaders within the INT who could negotiate, bargain,
and compromise not only with their counterparts within the government, but with each
The early years of the Barco administration suggests that bond
issuance became a standard way to repatriate narco-profits as debt-service increasingly
consumed export growth. Moreover, Colombia had not been able to join other countries in
the trend toward developing economic apertures or openings as well as democratic
The Gaviria Administration represents that growing group of tecnicos
that entered many Latin American governments during the 1980s. Building on the
institutional restructuring begun in earlier administrations, Gaviria's neo-liberal
policies struck a favorable chord with international financial leaders. It was suggested
in Chapter Six that Gaviria's success was due, in part, to his decision not to pursue
reinstitution of the extradition treaty. Clearly this was important in creating breathing
space for the Gaviria administration. His careful differentiation between narcoterrorism
and narcotrafficking allowed him to pursue those more visibly violent elements threatening
Colombia, while working quietly to find ways to adapt to the others.
While important that decision, in and of itself, cannot explain his
success. Gaviria could not have done so much by himself. He needed the support of the
gremios for his new policies and he received it, shortly after he decentralized the
economic agencies centralized earlier and freed the agricultural sector from regulation.
By this time the narcotraficantes were reported to own as much as 33% of prime
agricultural land nationwide. Whether or not the capos were convicted, the land would
remain in their families providing a channel for articulating interests and gaining
legitimacy. Liberalization of exchange controls, while not universally lauded, received
the cooperation of most banks in allowing the exchange rate to decline and providing
better control of the money supply and inflation.
Gaviria was also helped by the organizational changes of the INT
during this period. In its configuration of being dominated by the cocaine economy, the
INT in Colombia is approximately twenty years old. Leaders such as the Ochoas, the
deceased Pablo Escobar, and the Cali cartel leaders the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers, were
no longer the energetic or cocaine cowboys of yesteryear. As Phase Three began, the
INT had developed into a network organization with a strong administrative heritage, a
collection of forces that included the history of its development and personalities of its
leaders. The structural arrangements they adopted were congruent with their specific
environments.(6) The Gaviria administration managed to
capitalize on the beginnings of an earlier restructuring of economic institutions to
design and implement mechanisms by which this level of capital expansion could find
articulation within the system. That the cartel leaders were willing to accept this
appears to confirm Francisco Thoumi's thesis that:
the economic behavior of narco-businessmen is highly influenced by the economic
institutions that shape the environment in which they operate, the nature of their
business, their need to legitimize their assets and whether they are consumers of the
products they peddle or they have other criminal records.(7)
This is also consistent with Bartlett and Ghoshal's definition of
network organizations as a heterarchy wherein control mechanisms are devised and
implemented by adaptation of units to their local environment while power is achieved by
point centrality. For the INT this is achieved through the coordinating role of the
oligopolic sector. This does not mean the GOC no longer faced (s) challenges from the INT.
It does and will continue to do so, but the contour of those challenges will be different
as the organizational structure of the INT continues to fragment and centralize again.
The Samper administration had the extreme good fortune of coming to
power on the heels of the successful adaptation of the Colombian state to a formidable
power challenger. What the administration will face is the need for continued economic
management. Samper was fully prepared to deal with until the U.S. decided he appeared
"soft" on dealing with the cartels.
In addition to pressure from the U.S. the Samper administration is
faced with a fragmenting INT as new challengers and entrepreneurs have developed. While
the capture of Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela was greeted with jubilation, the reality is
that there are now "100 mini-cartels in Colombia"(8).
The Colombian government's capacity to consolidate and increase its
control over an effective economic program, following dismantling of the National Front
agreement, was not negatively affected by the INT during Phase One of the INT's evolution.
As organizational characteristics of the INT changed parallel to an ongoing attempt to
restructure the GOCs institutional capability, the GOC was negatively affected in its
efforts to consolidate and control an effective economic program during Phase Two. These
efforts were exacerbated by the GOC finding itself frequently in the position of reacting
to demands and events by the INT as well as to international agencies, especially the U.S.
and international human rights groups. The resulting efforts to deal with the INT often
led to contradictory policies as the state continued its efforts to stabilize its economic
institutions in the wake of widespread international disapproval and a global recession.
One could, I suppose, make the argument that the INT effectively
"brought the Colombian government to its knees" by forcing it to deal with the
INT as a quasi-legitimate interest group. The evidence suggests that the INT had become
such a formidable economic force and that the GOC would have been foolish to ignore such a
powerful economic and political actor. In a perverse way the challenge of the INT forced
the GOC to actively search for new ways of coping with power challengers and to think
seriously about expanding democratic procedures and policies and continuing reform of
economic institutions. Thus, during Phase Three, the INT affected the GOCs capacity to
consolidate and increase its control over an effective economic program positively and
negatively. Rather there appeared a coincidence of interests, needs, and organizational
structures between the INT and the GOC that opened negotiation spaces for structural
Impact of the INT on Colombian Legal Institutions
By the time of the National Front agreement there were few intact
political institutions, the primary one being the military. During the National Front
regimes the Colombian military retained its constitutional basis as it contended with bandolerismo
that permeated the countryside until the late 1960's. Beginning in the 1970s, it began
civic action campaigns trying to alter the allegiance of peasant supporters for numerous guerrilla
groups that continued to plague Colombia.(9) Juan Linz
notes that, "A primary requirement of a stable democratic government is the retention
of its legitimacy among those in direct control of the instruments of coercion..In certain
respects the armed forces are a concurrent minority (with this capacity)."(10) Hartlyn notes that by the late 1970s the Colombian military
was better prepared institutionally to fulfill this role.(11)
This suggests that the Colombian state continued to command a high degree of legitimacy in
a general sense. Legitimacy, however, occurs in relationship to different sectors of
society and across the political spectrum.(12)
The capacity to make decisions about political violence that would
have positive results depends, however, on the level of previous legitimacy and
effectiveness of the government.(13) Trust was still a
fragile commodity as the National Front ended. Lack of official support and prosecution
for the attacks on judicial workers at the end of Phase One suggests the erosion of an
already fragile legitimacy.
Paramilitary squads had not yet added the dimension of being a
parapolice as defined by Palacio. They retained their institutional identity and purpose
as a self-defense force of ranchers. Bribery was limited to individual cases and the
general consensus about the narcotraficantes was that they were businessmen with
no political ambitions.
Any analysis which relies on bribery and corruption to explain the
perdurance of the INT and its impact on the GOC misses an important theoretical question
raised by this type of challenge: Is it possible that certain kinds of legal traditions
and systems, such as a civil tradition, are simply quite inadequate to meet certain kinds
and levels of challenges? The INT's impact upon Colombia's judicial system during Phase
Two suggest that the civil law system and tradition reached a ceiling limiting its
effectiveness and was incapable of responding to the demands generated by prosecution of
This was complicated by a presidency that experienced a
severe deflation of state
authority as a direct consequence of drug trafficking, and due to several indirect ones,
such as its [presidency] facilitating growing paramilitary and criminal violences as well
as guerrilla activity . . . elements of the armed forces against leaders of
popular movements and opposition parties.(14)
The dramatic increases in assassinations of elites reflect the
increased organizational, coordinated power of the INT and a diminished state capacity to
deal with the assassins. It was not until Phase Three, during the Barco administration,
that assassins of the elite were identified and varying members of the cartel families
charged with the intellectual authorship of the deeds. Institutionally, the Colombian
judiciary simply did not keep up due to the large number of cases in the first place and
the quite real danger to life in the second place.
During this phase the INT acquired a concentrated and formalized
means of coercion, the paramilitary and parapolice squads. These acquisitions were
necessary not only to confound governmental prosecution, but also because the very
illegality of their enterprise precluded their appeal to the GOC to settle contract and
property disputes. During Phase One, the military was institutionally well-prepared to
fulfill its role in a democratic government by having the legitimate monopoly on the means
of coercion. Its legitimacy derived from a constitution which commanded it to fight guerrillas.
This, in addition to Columbia's delay in professionalizing its police force, meant the
military remained responsible for many kinds of enforcement dealing with political
disorder. Why then did the military appear so susceptible to corruption, bribery, and
cooptation by the INT?
Part of the answer is found in the increasingly articulated
anticommunist and antisubversive political ideology of the narco-traffickers. Recall that
most of the kidnappings in Colombia were committed by the guerrillas, with the
victims often killed despite ransoms paid. The fact that the traffickers represented an
illegal enterprise mattered little to the guerrillas whose chief concern was
filling their coffers. That the military had failed to wipe out the guerrillas
some 30 years after 'la violencia' had ended was a source of constant
frustration. The devastatingly successful campaigns by MAS against the M-19 guerrillas
eroded the military's confidence in approaches it had used in the past and suggests the
traffickers and military had more in common than originally thought.
Another part of the answer may be found in the Colombian military's
perception of itself as the "national guardian". As such it required an
increasingly autonomous base of support that more accurately reflected its ideology. The
catalytic event for this was the failed attempt by the military to contain a civilian
strike in 1977. The military demanded greater power to improve internal security. Turbay
was prepared to do this with enactment of Decree 1923. The study has revealed how funds
designated to fight the narcotraficantes were often switched to fight guerrillas.
Periodic peace proposals to reintegrate the guerrillas into society were so
opposed by the military, that the peace talks often had to exclude the military. The
attack on the Palace of Justice provided a clear indicator of a greater "political
space for the armed forces and their decision-making in the center of government."(15) This enlarged space became even larger when Minister of
Defense Rafael Samudio contradicted President Barco's peace plan, calling instead for an
all-out was against the guerrillas.(16) His
replacement did little to settle rumors of a military coup. It is difficult for North
Americans to appreciate the intense hold anticommunist, subversive ideology retains on the
military in Colombia. Excerpts from an interview conducted by Tina Rosenberg in 1990 with
Colonel Eduardo Arévalo, press spokesman for the armed forces at the Ministry of Defense,
are offered as an example of the virulence of this belief among senior officers in the
Many people think the Unión Patriótica are the 'good communists'. They go
back and forth between the UP and guerrillas. Hell, they're really guerrillas..[I
asked about the indictment of the Voltigeros officers for the Urabá massacres.] That
judge is on the extreme left..what you've heard is just propaganda. Besides, a civilian
judge cannot investigate an officer. She should pass the case over to the Army..These
so-called paramilitary groups are not the army
it's just a convenient world the
Left uses to blame us. What really happens is that the people see a UP man in a suit and
tie in the Senate, and even though he's wearing a tie and he's a senator, people recognize
him as a guerrilla, so they contract a sicario to kill him
the people in the Law here have links with the extreme Left. Most of the law professors
in the National University are extremely left-wing. Amnesty International is
manipulated by the Communist Party. That is well-known.(17)
The entrance of the guerrillas into the cocaine business is
considered by some coincidental and convenient. It was not perceived as such by the INT
when its efforts to consolidate its organization s met opposition from guerrillas
who commanded peasant loyalty in the areas they controlled. Thus we can readily see how
the military perceived itself as caught between a government committed to ending the guerrilla
conflict by reintegrating the rebels into society and an illegal organization which even
more strongly supported the mission that the military had found itself charged with for
some thirty years.
Another emerging actor during the evolution of the INT was the
Colombian Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ). The study suggests that while the SCJ remained
oppositional in its stance throughout all three phases of the INT, the reasons for the
opposition changed as the organizational structure of the INT changed. Concern for
constraining executive independence during Phase One changed to opposition secondary to
the threat and intimidation it experienced through escalating violence against its
members. The SCJ's rulings during Phase Three continue to appear oppositional at times,
but at this point the opposition is situated around the arduous task of developing a new
constitution and a reformed penal procedural code. The net effect, however, has been
limiting executive decree power under either a state of emergency and a state of national
economic emergency forcing the presidents to negotiate with congress on legislation.
It is not until the installation of the Gaviria administration
during Phase Three of the INT that concerted efforts were made to identify and confront
the informal rules that had weakened the Colombian judiciary. Governing via states of
emergency for 35 of the past 42 years(18) had established
an institutional norm of conflict resolution via presidential decree. The result was a
strengthened presidency as the legislature remained immobilized by the many factions that
had developed within the two primary political parties.
A hallmark of Gavira's administration was the recognition that
presidential authority had diminished and that the exclusive, enclosed consultation method
of Barco was no longer acceptable. Restoring legitimacy to the state meant negotiating
with a Congress duly elected as representing the citizenry. Gaviria was less sanguine,
however, in his attempt to curtail the military directly. His efforts to reestablish
civilian control of the military were limited to what Dix calls a "highly legalistic
approach, rooted in lack of mutual trust", meaning that Gaviria sought military
reform within the constitution and reform of the judiciary.(19)
Violence as an Agent of Social Change
In his study of the breakdown of democracies, Linz notes that
violence, while rarely involved in the actual takeover of regimes, has contributed
"to their loss of legitimacy, creating a loss of power and power vacuum."(20) He notes that understanding how this occurred rarely involves
examining situations where "the authorities, the police, and the judiciary, even
though disapproving of violent political acts, dealt leniently with them because they felt
sympathetic to the motives of those engaging in them or hostile to their victims."(21) Comments by the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the Army
that judges arm themselves when attached by gangs working for the narcotraficantes
suggest disrespect for the judiciary and a limited awareness of working together as
employees of the government. How could anyone have respect for the judiciary when it was
so unsupported by those charged with supporting it?
The fact that soldiers, accused of peasant murders in villages
perceived to the "leftist", were rarely found guilty in military courts eroded
confidence in the military and a government charged with obtaining justice for its
citizens. Attempts to limit military jurisdiction over crimes that could be tried in
civilian courts were often thwarted as presidential power declined. The Gaviria
administration is the first that did not experience rumors and threats of a military coup
as a new constitution and reformed legislation restricted crimes tried in military courts
and specified crimes committed by military personnel required to be tried in civilian
The escalation of violence by the INT's paramilitary squads,
whenever one of its members were extradited or when attempts made to reinstitute the
extradition treaty, resulted in a new constitution that bans the extradition of Colombian
citizens. On the one hand this can be perceived as a declining capacity of the Colombian
government to initiate and fulfill its contracts. But narcotraficantes were not
the only ones opposed to extradition. Elites and non-elites regarded the need for
extradition as a demoralizing shame for their nation. What appears to have happened is
that a tradeoff occurred. The ban on extradition was allowed to remain in exchange for one
of the more sweeping penal procedure reforms in Colombian history. In this sense one could
argue that the violence of the INT had a positive effect in promoting much needed judicial
reforms. This would conform to Rule's observations that "fluctuations in the extent
and intensity of violent conflicts are..directly linked with other changes in relations
especially power relations."(22)
Gaviria's decision to not restore the extradition treaty created a space for the changing
political and social relations between the Colombian State and the INT.
These changing political and social relations also represent what
the Commission for the Study of Violence calls challenges to a state charged with popular
representation while a private power parallel to the state developed and penetrated the
state. The INT, identifiable as a nascent political challenger during Phase One, became a
full-fledged challenger during Phase Two. As it evolved into a major TNC it sought to
negotiate on a level that provided legitimacy through recognition of its power. The
Gaviria administration provided this.
The INT negatively affected the Colombian judicial system by eroding
its willingness and capacity to uphold and interpret the law during Phase Two and Phase
Three in the evolution of the INT. Evidence in the study does not support the basic
proposition that the INT has reduced the autonomy of the Colombian state through a process
of deinstitutionalization which has curbed the capacity of the state to control but not to
reverse the process. Although assassinations and threats to judicial personnel continue,
the INT can be said to have served as a catalyst for a much needed constitutional and
penal reform. Evidence for this is found in the ability of the state to convene a
constitutional convention and mobilize congress sufficiently to legally commit a new penal
code. How strong are these institutional reforms and restructuring? How long will they
last? Will they be able to withstand challenges for increasing their legitimacy?
I agree with Banks and Alvarez that the habituation and
socialization necessary for acceptance of the reforms and restructuring will take time and
depend upon the Colombian's people's perception of the fit between the new set of rules
and society. If the legal institutions provide a more secure life for most Colombians
protecting rights and punishing transgressors, the judicial system will be perceived as
effective. In turn the habituation and socialization necessary to keep these reforms in
place can begin to develop. Then these institutional reforms and restructuring can be said
to have reached the level of institutionalization. Conversely, the state can do little to
indemnify those who suffered under a system that was eroding.
If the model of organizational behavior is correct, however, the
decline/incorporation of the major cartel families has given rise to many new
narco-entrepreneurs who will, in turn, restructure themselves to conform to the needs of
their environment. This could mean a resurgence of turf wars unless the aging capos have
arranged well-enough for their own succession. Another variable that would bear closer
appraisal is international pressure from the U.S. and international human rights agencies.
Already the U.S. has applied considerable pressure on the newly installed Samper
government because they thought him insufficiently concerned with the INT. Despite
demonstrating his ability to marshal enough resources to capture the Cali cartel leaders,
assassinations of members of the judiciary have begun anew. On June 15, 1995 the regional
DAS chief who had gathered the evidence and led the team in search of Gilberto Rodriguez
Orejuela was assassinated. Moreover, continuing investigations by Attorney General
Valdivieso have revealed considerable corruption among Samper's campaign managers and his
cabinet. Equally interesting is that the U.S. has strengthened these investigations by
providing evidence against the Samper administration collected by U.S. law enforcement.
THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY
What are the theoretical implications for this study? I believe this
study explains the relationship of the illegal narcotics trade to the Colombian state
better than others because of its focus on institutionalism. It differs from the
institutional approaches in the past in that it attempts to place institutionalism more
firmly within culture. Doing so permits the researcher to identify increased points of
access for those organizations, state and non-state, which try to control social
organization. Specifically it differs from older institutional approaches in its inclusion
of an illegal activity that developed resources large enough to challenge those of the
state. Only in the past decade has there been recognition that the illegality of an
enterprise per se is not enough to dismiss it as a power challenger. Past efforts have
consisted of primarily historical studies of political and social banditry and anecdotal
documentation of organized crime.
Lupsha's research on network analysis, Block and Gambetta's studies
of social organization among Sicilian crime families, Sanchez's work on political banditry
in Colombia are just a few examples of a beginning research shift in the effect of illegal
enterprises on state-civil society relations. Incorporating network analysis and
organizational behavior of evolving firms, whether legal or illegal, from this study will
add another dimension to that research.
These dimensions could be particularly salient for those countries
where the informal economy plays a dominant role in economic growth. Peru and Mexico are
two Latin American countries where extensive research on their informal economies already
exists. Peru has long played a role as a producer country in the drug production chain
with many areas of the Upper Huallanga Valley dominated by coca leaf production. The model
of the INT as a power challenger would have to be considerably modified, however, since
relationships between the Peruvian government and direct foreign investment have been
limited since Alberto Fujimori became president and instigated his own coup allowing more
authoritarian leadership. Additionally, current evidence suggests that leaf production
remains the dominant activity without any significant organizational coherence among the
two or three crime families who control it.
Mexico, particularly of late, promises to be a more viable candidate
for application of this model. Although politically there is only one political part, the Partido
Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is well institutionalized. The government has
considerable experience dealing with direct foreign investment and, like Colombia, it
enjoys a long history of smuggling. Moreover, Mexico is presently second only to Colombia
as a major country for illegal narcotics trafficking. Currently, however, its activities
appear to be limited to transshipment of cocaine while marijuana production continues to
be the dominant drug industry.
Moving further away from Latin America, this research might also be
used in assessing the impact of the growth of organized crime in Central/Southern Europe
and in Russia. Russia presents an especially interesting case with the high levels of
institutional realignment following the breakup of the former Soviet Union. As noted
earlier in this work, the design and implementation of institutions take time while the
citizen's needs for resources and protection remain immediate. Early research suggests
that many involved in organized crime in Russia come to this enterprise with considerable
institutional building skills having been members of the Communist bureaucracy.
Additionally the move toward privatization of the financial system has created
institutional vulnerability for Russia. Many of the criminal organizations are reported to
have developed or taken over banks of their own. Bankers, as a subgroup of the population
are assassinated more frequently than any other group.(23)
The issue of institutional building becomes an even more salient issue for a country such
as Romania where anecdotal information suggests that the economy is dominated by several
illegal narcotics trafficking groups and rebuilding the economic institutions have been
slow and ineffective.
Future research agendas might include developmental comparisons
between the Sicilian crime families and the Colombian mafiosa; negotiating and bargaining
tactics of states with illegal entities; and continued evaluation of violence as an agent
of social change. Revisiting institutionalization and rooting it more firmly within a
culture can provide a clearer appreciation of levels of political stability and
instability and, perhaps, point the governments concerned in the direction of more
1 Joel Migdal, "A Model of State-Society Relations," Chapter 3 in New
Directions in Comparative Politics ed. Howard J. Wiadra (Boulder: Westview Press,
2 Ibid., 50.
3 Palacio and Rojas, 87.
4 Ibid., 72.
5 Francisco Leal Buitrago, "Modernización del Estado y
Crisis Política," Conference Paper No. 39, Presented at the Research Conference,
"Violence and Democracy in Colombia and Peru at Columbia University, November
30-December 1, 1990.
6 Ackerman and McRae, 6.
7 Francisco Thoumi, "Colombian Laws and Institutions,
Money Dirtying, Money Laundering, and Narco-Businessmen," mimeo, February, 1990, np.
8 Tom Quinn and Elaine Shannon, "Colombia: A Drug
Deal?" Time, November 4, 1994. Electronic Archives.
9 Robert H. Dix, The Politics of
10 Juan J. Linz, Crisis, Breakdown, and
Reequilibration (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978) 85.
11 Jonathan Hartlyn , Politics of
20 in Chapter 7, 290.
12 Linz, 58.
14 Jonathan Hartlyn, "Presidentialism and Colombian
Politics" in The Failure of Presidential Democracy: The Case of Latin America Volume
2, eds. Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,
15 Americas Watch Report, January 1986, 72.
"Barco Outlines Peace Process: Plan
Excludes Discussion of Death Squad Activity", Latin American Weekly Report
September 15, 1988, 9.
17 Tina Rosenberg, Children of Cain: Violence
and the Violent in Latin America (New York: William Morrow, 1991) 50.
18 US State Department, "Colombian Human
Rights Practices, 1993" (DC: Government Printing Office, 1994) 1.
19 Ibid., 168.
20 Linz, 56.
21 Ibid., 57.
22 Rule, 266.
23. Interview with Sergei Morozov and Olga Blinkova (Director
of first private bank in Moscow) at the International Visitors Council Meeting held at
Muhlenberg College, October 1995.
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