Acknowledgements || 1: In the beginning...
In the 1980s, the illegal narcotics trade was transformed from an essentially regional
phenomenon into a transnational phenomenon. As such it became a significant transnational
actor in international relations. Literature on the illegal narcotics trade (INT) has
tended to focus on macro approaches to understanding the INT. It is only in the past few
years that scholars have begun to understand, according to Samuel I. del Villar, that
there is no single illicit drug market. The INT breaks down not only according to product
differentiation, but also along the roles different countries play in the structure of the
Colombia, a major center for the processing and transshipment of cocaine, is the object
of this study. The generalized violence that Colombia has experienced is, according to
Francisco Thoumi, symptomatic of the "illegality and dishonesty trap" in which
nations can become ensnared when erosion of its political institutions, particularly
economic and legal, occurs. Increasingly, financial institutions which have considered
themselves apolitical are having to confront the political consequences of profit-seeking.
Thus this study hypothesizes that the interactive relationship between the INT and the
Colombian state has so altered the power structure of the state that the state has seen
not only its political sovereignty decrease, but also its economic sovereignty. The
transnationalization of narco-capital through money-laundering has effectively limited the
control of the Colombian state over these resources. Moreover, its existence poses serious
implications for the implementation of a successful narco-policy by either Colombia
itself, or in bilateral agreement with the United States. Similarly the violent assault
upon the Colombian judicial system has undermined confidence in the state and contributed
to the increase of a "privatization of justice".
This study seeks to add to a growing corpus of literature an approach that recognizes
that the successful inauguration, maintenance, and growth of illegal narcotics trafficking
requires an articulate constituency capable of alliance formation. This constituency,
present in both producer and consumer nations, is capable of articulating demands and
exerting pressure upon governments through its capacity to marshal significant material
and human resources on its behalf. As such it represents a formidable challenge to the
state and requires investigation.