Chapter 16: Colombia: organised crime, politics, and convenience
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In Colombia, the origins and the reach of the links between crime and politics penetrate society across sectors and different levels of government. This chapter depicts the variety of the politics_crime linkages in Colombia. Instead of conceiving of a single ‘crime_politics nexus’, the author argues for a more nuanced understanding of the arrangements between these two realms that require differentiated responses, tailored to the respective level and actors involved. Four arrangements of convenience stand out: collusion, strategic alliances, pacific coexistence, and the preponderance of one over the other. To account for this complexity, this chapter is based on three premises: understanding ‘politics’ and ‘organised crime’ in the context of the internal armed conflict and the actors involved in it; accounting for the various geographical levels on which crime_politics linkages take shape, including its transnational dimension; and going beyond the focus on drug trafficking to include other forms of transnational organised crime.

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