I lived and worked in Latin & South America for quite a long time.
This is what is evolving there. A rather long but interesting read.
[quote]The Mafia’s Shadow Kingdom
By Jens Glüsing in Rio de Janeiro
The recent violence in Sao Paulo may just be the tip of the iceberg: In many parts of Brazil and indeed across Latin America, governments have capitulated to gangsters, and the rise of organized crime could end the recent leftward shift across Latin America.
Organized crime is on the rise across Latin America. The most important mafia organization in Rio calls itself “Comando Vermelho” (“Red Command”); its main source of revenue is drug dealing in the favelas. Sao Paulo is controlled by the PCC (the “First Command of the National Capital”). Its areas of expertise include bank robberies and cargo theft; it also controls the drug trade in the prisons.
Gangs of kidnappers spread fear and terror in Caracas and Mexico City. Cocaine cartels control the area around Mexico’s northern border. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are the territory of the “Maras,” adolescent street gangs that live mainly off extortion. The paramilitaries and guerrillas of Columbia support themselves by raising money through kidnappings and drug trading.
Moving backwards in history
An entire continent is slipping backwards in time. The spread of violence and crime show that large parts of Latin America are far from joining the leading industrial nations of the Western hemisphere. In constantly expanding their power, the gangs demonstrate the weakness of the region’s governments; wherever there is a power vacuum, the gangs take over. “Organized crime can only survive as long as it escapes punishment,” says Alba Zaluar, a Brazilian researcher who specializes in the study of violence, “so it creates its own territories in order to assure that it won’t be punished there.”
Latin America’s often decrepit democracies are easy prey. The court system barely functions in most countries; the police are often corrupt and cooperate with drug dealers. Many politicians can be easily bribed, and parliamentary positions are perceived as opportunities for self-enrichment.
“Caracas is now considered the most violent city on the continent. Not only does Venezuela have the highest murder rate in the world, according to a recent United Nations study, but that rate tripled between 1998 and 2005.”(artice at link)
service.spiegel.de/cache/interna … 50,00.html[/quote]