I read an article (with the link attached at the bottom of this blog) which described the growing fact that Colombian narcos prefer to be sent to the U.S. for jail time. Interestingly, this has not always been the case. According to the article, narcos would dread being deported to the U.S. to go to jail. The United States War against Drugs had been getting started and there was a strict crackdown on prosecuting those involved with the drug trade. However, over time the situation has changed significantly. The article points out that narcos found that they could exchange information and/or resources to the United States Government in exchange for secure jail locations and lenient charges that include features such as shorter sentences and favorable outcomes in terms of drug money loss. As such, many Colombian drug criminals have started to favor being deported to the United States. Most of these prisoners are deported back to Colombia after their sentence is over, where many return to their drug empires. However, some criminals find legal ways to stay in the United States and either work in legitimate businesses or continue their drug work. The article goes on to illustrate that many Colombians are opposed to this state of affairs as it supposedly benefits the U.S. more than Colombia.
The article highlights numerous elements of organized crime that we have been discussing in class. Specifically, the article claims that “removing many hundreds of criminal gang members from Colombia has made life easier for the Colombian government and helped strengthen it, perhaps enough to make it conceivable for Colombia to handle more cases under its own justice system.” In this manner, the U.S. has helped increase the governability of the Colombian state. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the state to enforce laws and operate its own legal system effectively and assuredly has been increased. However, the article also argues that “there’s no evidence that extraditions have had much impact on the volume of drug trafficking.” In other words, the article argues that while the process of deporting Colombian criminals to the Unites States has increased the effectiveness of the Colombian state, and thus reduced brown areas in that state, there hasn’t been much impact on the drug trade itself. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that by decreasing brown areas in the Colombian state, the U.S. might actually have been increasing those brown areas. This possibility is only seen on a global, international level by pointing out that the increase in Colombian state competency and efficiency is only a result of U.S. intervention and that such an effect might possibly revert when U.S. intervention is removed. In other words, the Colombian government might be more competent and independent from organized crime, but may have become more dependent on international aid and as such, from a global perspective, have increased brown areas.