Caribbean and Eastern Pacific maritime security: regional cooperation in bridge and insular states
Conners, Matthew R.
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The international cocaine market has transformed the Caribbean Basin into the most violent region in the world. Against the onslaught of drugs and violence, interstate security cooperation and intelligence sharing are increasingly prominent features of state security strategies. The evolution of security cooperation has pushed cocaine flows from the Caribbean to Central America and the Eastern Pacific. Overtime, increasing state capacity and cooperation has shaped cocaine trafficking and cut into the profit margins of cartel organizations. This thesis examines the evolution of maritime countertrafficking networks and argues that increased cooperation in the Insular Caribbean caused narcotraffickers to shift trafficking routes to regions without multilateral security mechanisms. Using naval strengths, interdiction data, and government estimates, this thesis determined that security cooperation shaped current smuggling routes. This thesis concludes that multilateral security arrangements are more effective against transnational criminal networks than unilateral state action. It points to holes in the regional security network and calls for a unified approach to transnational criminal networks. The regional hegemon has an outsized impact on regional security and must take steps to build and maintain multilateral relationships between Mexico and Central America to effectively control smuggling in the Eastern Pacific.
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