Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Latin America Today

Lecture slides

How has the War on Drugs affected Latin America?

Why has increasing violence accompanied democratization in Latin America?


Required Reading:

Enrique Arias and Daniel Goldstein, “Introduction” in Enrique Desmond Arias and Daniel M. Goldsein (eds.) Violent Democracies Duke, 2010.


For recent news stories, choose an article on gang violence, drug trafficking, and politics from either a decent US-UK publication (Guardian, Independent, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, Atlantic etc), (if you speak Spanish or Portuguese) a decent Latin American or Spanish paper (El Pais, Proceso, La Jornada, Milenio) or a good blog site like borderlandbeat. Bring it in to seminar and discuss it with the class.



Alfredo Corchado, Midnight in Mexico. Penguin, 2013.

Ioan Grillo, El Narco, Bloomsbury, 2012.

Mary Roldan, "Colombia: Cociane and the Miracle of Modenrity in Medellin" in Paul Gootenburg (ed.), Cocaine: Global Histories  Routledge, 1999.

Francisco E Thoumi, "Why the Illegal Psychoactive Drugs Industry Grew in Colombia" Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs (1992)

Mark Edberg, "Drug traffickers as social bandits: culture and drug trafficking in northern Mexico and the border region." Journal of Contemporary Criminology 2001;17(3):259-77

Julien Mercille, "Violent Narco-Cartels or US Hegemony" in Third World Quarterly, (2011)


Further reading

Sidney Zabludoff, "Colombian Narcotics Organizations as Business Enterprises", Transnational Organized Crime, 3.2 (1997), 20-49

Dominic Streatfeild, Cocaine: an unauthorized biography. Picador, 2013. (Chapters 9-11)

Francisco E. Thoumi, Illegal Drugs, Economy and Society in the Andes. Johns Hopkins, 2003.

Michael Taussig, Law in a Lawless Land: diary of a "limpieza" in Colombia. Chicago, 2005.

Enrique Arias, Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro, North Carolina, 2006.

Kees Koonings and Kirk Kruijt, (eds.) Fractured Cities: Social Exclusion, Urban Violence and Contested Spaces in Latin America. Zed Books, 2006.