The Drug War in Latin America: Hegemony and Global Capitalism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Drug War in Latin America

Hegemony and Global Capitalism, 1st Edition

By William Avilés


184 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-10-06
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Since the mid-1980s subsequent US governments have promoted a highly militarized and prohibitionist drug control approach in Latin America. Despite this strategy the region has seen increasing levels of homicide, displacement and violence.

Why did the militarization of U.S. drug war policies in Latin America begin and why has it continued despite its inability to achieve the stated targets? Are such policies simply intended to impose U.S. power or have elites in Latin America internalized this agenda as their own? Why did resistance to this approach emerge in the late-2000s and does this represent a challenge to the prohibitionist agenda?

In this book William Avilés argues that if we are to understand and explain the militarization of the drug war in Latin America a ‘transnational grand strategy’, developed and implemented by networks of elites and state managers operating in a neoliberal, globalized social structure of accumulation, must be considered and examined.


"In this compelling new study, Professor Avilés moves us beyond the established explanations for the drug war in Latin America. He shows how this war came about through the "grand strategy" of an entrenched transnational policy network to integrate the region into the political economy of global capitalism. A powerful indictment of the prohibitionist paradigm, the work will be of great interest to scholars, journalists, and policymakers. If you want to understand what and who are behind the drug war in Latin America, read this book." - William I. Robinson, University of California in Santa Barbara, USA

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Global Capitalism, Transnational Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy

Chapter 2: Capitalist Globalization, Prohibition and the U.S. Drug War

Chapter 3: Plan Colombia And the Merida Initiative-Waging War to Advance Capitalist Globalization

Chapter 4: Social Conflict, Coca Eradication and The Transnational Elite in Bolivia and Peru

Chapter 5: Transnational Advocacy Networks and the Drug War



About the Author

William Avilés is Professor of Political Science at The University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA. He teaches courses on the Politics of the Developing World; Latin American Politics; The Politics of the Drug War; and Democracy Around the World.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy

This new series sets out to publish high quality works by leading and emerging scholars critically engaging with United States Foreign Policy. The series welcomes a variety of approaches to the subject and draws on scholarship from international relations, security studies, international political economy, foreign policy analysis and contemporary international history.

Subjects covered include the role of administrations and institutions, the media, think tanks, ideologues and intellectuals, elites, transnational corporations, public opinion, and pressure groups in shaping foreign policy, US relations with individual nations, with global regions and global institutions and America’s evolving strategic and military policies.

The series aims to provide a range of books – from individual research monographs and edited collections to textbooks and supplemental reading for scholars, researchers, policy analysts, and students.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Law Enforcement
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Caribbean & Latin American