Strain Theory and Colombia by bua69970


									Crm.2300.1.A+B              Strain Theory and Colombia                        Class 10

-       According to Merton people react to being excluded from the access to social
mobility in a number of ways. Conformity, Ritualism, and Retreatism are also reactions one
will encounter in a country like Colombia. However, in addition to innovation, or the turn
toward criminal activities, rebellion, or participation in the Marxist guerrilla is a choice
made by many young Colombians. Revolutionary and criminal activities, are two possible
responses to frustrated expectations which aim to improve one’s personal situation. Not
surprisingly, the country is home to powerful criminal organizations as well as the oldest
and strongest rebel movements in Latin America.
-       In Colombia, anomie is acute. The Medellín cartel exploded some 200 bombs
between August and December 1989 alone, killing and injuring hundreds of police, military,
and innocent bystanders. Between 1983 and 1993, the cartel also murdered two Ministers
of Justice, three presidential candidates, 37 journalists, and 269 judges. Between 1996
and 1997 alone, the number of annual killings increased again by 19 per cent to 32,000.
-       The violence generated by the drug trade also manifests itself in other crimes.
According to Colombian crime statistics the rate of extortion rose from 1.4% of criminal
cases in 1981 to 6.2% in 1990. Between 1980 and 1989 there were 1.960 kidnappings. This
number more than doubled between 1990 and 1992 to over 4.000. According to Colombian
police records 2.600 people, including foreigners, were kidnapped for ransom in 1998, and
for the first 8 months of 1999, there had been 1. 300 registered kidnappings. At the
time of the millennium roughly half of all the kidnappings in the world occurred in
-       R. T. Naylor comes to a conclusion that differs little from Merton’s. Accordingly,
criminals like drug-traffickers “are insurgent capitalists” who try to integrate into a
“hitherto largely closed social system.” Meanwhile, the rebels are “insurgent communists”
who aim to “overthrow that system” (R.T. Naylor, "The Insurgent Economy: Black Market
Operations of Guerrilla Organizations," Crime, Law and Social Change, 20, 1993: 37). The
Colombian case illustrates that both crime and rebellion are different reactions to the
exclusion from the riches of society. While criminal activity becomes a vehicle for social
mobility and integration into elites by the traffickers, revolution by Marxist rebels aims
to destroy and replace these elites.
-       Terms and Names to remember
FARC: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia = Revolutionary Armed Forces of
ELN: Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional = National Liberation Army.
M-19: Movimiento de Abril 19 = Movement of April 19.
Estado de Conmoción Interior = the ‘State of Internal Commotion’ or martial law
Pablo Escobar Gaviria = late leader of the Medellín Cartel; killed in 1993.
Gilberto and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela = former leaders of the Cali Cartel; imprisoned.

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