Strategic Overview of Latin America: Identifying New Convergence Centers, Forgotten Territories, and Vital Hubs for Transnational Organized Crime [open pdf - 635KB]
From the Document, "This paper outlines a number of critical strategic challenges in Latin America for U.S. policymakers, which were directly identified in the December 2017 National Security Strategy. However, despite this recognition, these issues are seldom featured in policy discussions about the region. [...] This analysis begins with a study of convergence in the illicit gold trade, drawing on fieldwork in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. It then considers three countries--Paraguay, Bolivia, and Nicaragua--that receive little attention from policymakers but are key players in the emerging drug trafficking, gold trade, money-laundering, and extra-regional illicit networks in Latin America. The discussion of both Bolivia and Paraguay features a brief study of the activities of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (First Command of the Capital), based in Brazil but rapidly expanding its operations across South and Central America. Despite being one of the largest and fastest-growing criminal gangs in the hemisphere, it is seldom viewed as an important consideration for regional trends. Finally, an overview of the Ramiro Network, a massive regional state-sponsored money-laundering structure based on fictitious oil sales, highlights a key convergence point for TOC [transnational organized crime] activity in El Salvador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia-- including the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or, FARC), FARC 'dissidents,' and Russia"
Strategic Perspectives No.28
National Defense University: https://ndupress.ndu.edu/