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Welcome to InSight Crime’s Criminal GameChangers 2018, where we highlight the most important trends in organized crime in the Americas over the course of the year. From a rise in illicit drug availability and resurgence of monolithic criminal groups to the weakening of anti-corruption efforts and a swell in militarized responses to crime, 2018 was a year in which political issues were still often framed as left or right, but the only ideology that mattered was organized crime.

You can read all the chapters online or download the full report PDF file here

Criminal GameChangers

1. The Year Crime Became an Ideology

The Trump administration’s border policies are actually helping organized crime.

2. Political Shifts in Colombia, Mexico Cloud Outlook 

Presidential elections in the two countries at the heart of Latin America’s drug trade both brought significant change in 2018.

3. Threatened by Inquiries, Central American Elites Strike Back 

Struggles against corruption have not died out, but they end the year weaker than they started it.

4. Venezuelan Migration a New Gold Mine for Organized Crime

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country.

5. As Opioids and Cocaine Boom, the Americas Wilt

While traditional criminal organizations have widened their portfolios dramatically in recent years, drug trafficking remains the most important earner in the region.

6. The Criminal ‘Winners’ in Latin America

Which criminal structures have gained the most strength in Latin America in 2018? Three groups, all based in different nations, have engaged in aggressive expansion, both territorial and economic, and are set to dominate the region’s criminal landscape.

7. 5 Reasons LatAm Organized Crime Will Strengthen in 2019

It is hard to be optimistic for 2019. The current trends all point to a strengthening of organized crime throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

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