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Organized Crime’s Engagement in Democratic Politics: Strategies for Prevention and Mitigation
Catalina Uribe Burcher, Kristen Sample
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Criminal networks erode the legitimacy of democratic politics, affecting regions as diverse as Latin America (Briscoe, Perdomo, & Uribe Burcher, 2014), the Baltic States (Villaveces-Izquierdo & Uribe Burcher, 2013), and West Africa (Aning & Edu-Afful, 2013a; 2013b). Contemporary research on this topic describes various factors that might increase the vulnerability of political actors, institutions, and processes to organized crime (Uribe Burcher, 2017). In addition, there is a need to identify strategies to strengthen those political actors, institutions, and processes, making them resilient against criminal influence. Drawing from extensive field research conducted in Latin America, Africa, and West Asia in 2015-2016 (Perdomo & Uribe Burcher, 2016; Hunter & Reitano, 2016; Briscoe & Goff, 2016a; 2016b), as well as additional desk research conducted during the same period, this paper maps a set of 28 actions that may increase these institutions’ and actors’ resilience to the influence of organized crime networks based on documented global experiences implementing such measures. The paper also reflects some of the findings from a pilot experience to assess the threat of nexus between organized crime in democratic politics in Peru conducted in 2015-2016, which used some of the proposed action points to build a prevention and mitigation plan.
democracy, organized crime, corruption, politics