2017 – The Year of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel highlights the growing threat of transnational crime and need for nations to develop more powerful tools against it.

As the older baby boomers finally retire while the younger segment of that populous generational cohort holds on to the work place through entrepreneurship and coaching the Us optimism rises according to the All Economic American Survey.

36% Americans believe the economy will get better.

They also believe their home value and salaries will rise.

This has not happened in ten years!!!

When asked what event had the greatest impact in their comfort, 42% indicate technological development. A similar proportion expects technology to continue to lead the road to progress alongside medical advancements.

With respect to crime a solid 70% of American citizens believes crime has increased even though law enforcement statistics show a sensible decrease. When asked what are the contributing factors to the alleged increase in crime, most Americans believe lack of enforcement and of economic opportunities to be the springs of crime.

None, of course, assimilates technology with rising crime in the world.

It so happens that that while crime has abated in the U.S., it is skyrocketing in the so called emerging markets

Criminal organizations are also becoming more effective and efficient. According to UNODC (United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime) annual turnover of transnational organized criminal activities such as drug trafficking, counterfeiting, illegal arms trade and the smuggling of immigrants is estimated at around $1 billion. Drug trafficking is the most lucrative activity with an estimated value of $400 billion a year. Human trafficking represents about $38 billion annually. Estimates of smuggling of migrants are placed by experts at $7 billion per year.

Many of these activities are planned, handled and executed with razor sharp precision by disciplined and engaged gangs that bear a stake in the outcome. A complex logistics network has been webbed around the globe by diverse criminal organizations that leveraging technological progress have been able to execute undetected by law enforcement agencies their criminal activities.

Given large profit margins for each activity, these organizations are able to invest a significant proportion in “business development” projects. These entail the development of undetectable communication networks; vehicles to smuggle drugs or human beings; factories to illegally counterfeit high-end fashion clothing and accessories particularly bags, currencies and financial documents and medicines.

They also engage in bribing government officials at all levels and taking possession of fragile countries, whose leadership could be described as the successors of the 18th and 19th centuries pirates and buccaneers. Such countries are taken over to act as operational bases facilitating development of trade routes and communications networks.

These bases now circle the globe existing in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Technology has enabled organized crime to set and manage these bases.

Unfortunately for the world, international cooperation among states and international law have failed to successfully develop effective tools to prevent and fight transnational organized crime.

Created when the Westphalia Order ruled the world under the precepts of balance of power and sovereign reign by nation states, the international institutional framework produces safe havens for transnational organized crime.

Bases now flourish in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, the Mexican Pacific and Atlantic corridors, Honduras, Venezuela and Ciudad del Este, a city with triple borders in South America (Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay).

And this despite the existence of a UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime that so far has only been applied to FIFA, the world soccer organization. Putting the genie back in the bottle should thus be the utmost priority for the international community in 2018.

Published by LAHT.com on Monday January 1st, 2018

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*