Arms Trafficking and Colombia

Arms Trafficking and Colombia

Kim Cragin
Bruce Hoffman
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 108
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1468dia
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  • Book Info
    Arms Trafficking and Colombia
    Book Description:

    Colombia has experienced significant political instability and violence over the past century due to a number of factors, including the proliferation of small-arms trafficking. The authors identify the sources and routes used by arms traffickers to acquire, buy, sell, receive, transfer, and ship weapons. They also examine the various groups and individuals who purchase and use these munitions. The authors examine Colombia's political conflict through the lens of small-arms trafficking and conclude with policy implications for the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3597-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. TABLE
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. ACRONYMS
    (pp. xxv-xxv)
  9. Political Map of Colombia
    (pp. xxvi-xxvi)
  10. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-2)

    The people of Colombia live in the midst of violent crime and political revolution. Although the source of this instability may not be obvious, it nevertheless affects the everyday activities of ordinary individuals. The violence comes in the form of theft, kidnapping, murder, and guerrilla assaults. It affects the poor farmer, the teacher, the banker, and the rich industrialist alike. And behind all of this violence is small-arms trafficking.

    This report follows two distinct analytical threads:

    First, we examine the scope and dimensions of small-arms trafficking into and within Colombia. In Chapters Two through Four, we identify the weapons sources...

  11. Chapter Two VIOLENCE IN COLOMBIA
    (pp. 3-16)

    The Colombian domestic landscape has been marked by significant political, social, and economic upheavals in the 20th century. These upheavals have led to the emergence of a number of substate groups challenging the authority and power of the Bogotá government, all of whom have generated a rising demand for illegal small arms. Exacerbating the situation is Colombia’s physical geography, which is highly conducive to the illegal trafficking of weapons into and throughout the country. Finally, a number of geopolitical issues have magnified the problem of arms smuggling in Colombia and serve to illustrate the context in which countries typically operate...

  12. Chapter Three PATTERNS OF SMALL-ARMS TRAFFICKING INTO COLOMBIA
    (pp. 17-42)

    Small-arms trafficking patterns highlight the difficulties countries face when they attempt to control internal illegal markets fed by global trade. Although most people are aware that Colombia is a source of illegal drugs, it is simultaneously a repository for illegal small arms. The difference between the drug trade and weapons trafficking, however, is that Colombia is on the opposite side of the demand equation for weapons as compared with drugs. Colombia’s arms trafficking patterns illuminate the dynamic of a strong central state confronted with political fighting perpetrated by insurgent forces and paramilitaries, while facing compound problems of violence, drugs, and...

  13. Chapter Four PATTERNS OF SMALL-ARMS TRAFFICKING INSIDE COLOMBIA
    (pp. 43-50)

    The interaction among white, gray, and black markets is even more dynamic after small arms reach Colombia from outside sources. While the previous chapter focused on arms trafficking patterns—i.e., arms sources and trafficking routes—to Colombia, this chapter highlights small-arms trafficking patternsinsideColombia.

    As mentioned earlier in this report, small arms enter Colombia mostly from black markets in Central America. In the countries neighboring Colombia, the sources and routes are somewhat more diverse, but transactions also tend to take place primarily on the black market. It would therefore be logical to assume that the (illegal) weapons coming from...

  14. Chapter Five THE WIDER CONTEXT
    (pp. 51-62)

    Small-arms trafficking is a growing international security issue. The patterns of weapons acquisitions, the smuggling routes, and the violence in Colombia all exist within a global context. Moreover, this report’s focus on Colombia illustrates how illegal arms trafficking can be viewed as an independent yet significant variable, like narcotics dealing or human smuggling, that contributes to conflict and instability. Thus, in this chapter, we take a step back from our focus on Colombia to explore the problem of illegal arms trafficking in a wider context.

    During the Cold War, states provided weapons to their allies and to antagonists alike. The...

  15. Chapter Six POLICY IMPLICATIONS
    (pp. 63-70)

    The underlying thesis throughout this analysis is that small-arms trafficking allows nonstate actors to challenge state authority and power, and this thesis certainly held true in our study of Colombia. Our analysis also revealed a dynamic relationship between arms trafficking and political violence. These two conclusions have a number of policy implications for the U.S. government.

    Significantly, between 1999 and 2001, Colombia’s insurgents fought for control of arms trafficking routes. But some observers argue that FARC and the AUC were actually fighting for control over drug distribution centers. For some areas in Colombia, such as Buenaventura, this observation is correct....

  16. Appendix RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 71-72)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 73-86)