regional governments to corrupt, in order to take a region in their hands and force the authorities to comply with their own rules. Colombia, Peru and Bolivia are the world’s biggest cocaine cultivators, sending their drugs to 170 countries.

Figure 3: Homicide rates per continent (2000-2030*)

 

 

There is also a high rate of human trafficking and kidnaps, rapes, violence against minorities and domestic violence. In general, there has been a “culture of violence” developed in those countries, which means that in many cases crime is seen as something “ordinary” and perhaps even “acceptable”. For instance, it is natural for a Venezuelan citizen to expect to be the victim of about 17 crimes during their life, which is an enormous number for European standards.  

Consequences of crime      

The violent crime wave constitutes a new human rights emergency in South America. A huge number of people die, get injured or lose their family members every day. The situation has led many people to avoid going out, living in fear of becoming victims and some of them even wishing to abandon their country in order to escape the violent reality that they live in.

Political instability has been increased, as citizens no longer trust politicians because they have proved unable to ameliorate the situation. Criminal organizations tend to cause corruption in governmental bodies and force officials to make unethical decisions. Governmental authorities might even be forced by criminal gangs to quit their positions, causing chaos in the governance of the states, which end up being controlled and ruled by the gangs themselves.

There are also economic costs, like government’s huge spending on preventing violent behavior or restoring damages caused by crimes. An amount of the money spent could be invested in health care or education instead. In total, the annual costs of crime and