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The economic and political environments in Latin America have been advantageous for local, regional, and transnational threat networks. Specifically, technology, increased international trade and economic interdependence, heightened interest in natural resources for profit, synthetic drug production, economic disparities, corruption, impunity, and unstable political conditions have led to a complex web of opportunities that requires new, progressive ways to address criminal activities. The creativity of threat networks along with their entrepreneurial strategies have resulted in increasing power and influence. Despite efforts by the United States and some governments in Latin America to combat these networks, the everchanging global environment has worked in their favor. Indeed, some countries in Central and South America are in danger of transforming into what Jorge Chabat described as “criminally possessed states.” Furthermore, gangs in Central America, especially in Honduras where MS-13 has become more closely linked to drug trafficking, have reduced local extortion, become more aware of their nascent political power and have even engaged in rudimentary social welfare provision.

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International and Area Studies | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

The Evolution of Threat Networks in Latin America

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