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8: Conclusion

<< 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 the game.

    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 economy.

    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 other.

    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 apertures.

    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 reform.

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 the INT.

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 military.

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….Many of 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 court.

    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 among…groups…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.


    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 effective policymaking.


1 Joel Migdal, "A Model of State-Society Relations," Chapter 3 in New Directions in Comparative Politics ed. Howard J. Wiadra (Boulder: Westview Press, 1985) 41-56.

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 … 136.

10     Juan J. Linz, Crisis, Breakdown, and Reequilibration (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978) 85.

11    Jonathan Hartlyn , Politics of … ,fn 20 in Chapter 7, 290.

12    Linz, 58.

13    Ibid.

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, 1994) 236-237.

15   Americas Watch Report, January 1986, 72.

16    …"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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