Crime, citizenship and race: Latin American dilemmas in security doctrine

José Oviedo Pérez
Content Type
Journal Article
Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
Issue Number
Publication Date
Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
Latin America (LA) over the past century has experienced a period of relative interstate peace, free from the bloody wars typically seen in other global regions, such as Europe (CENTENO, 2002; MARES, 2001). The region, however, is also the most violent and unsafe in the world. Los Cabos, Mexico, the deadliest city in the world in 2017, boasts about 111.33 deaths per every 100,000 residents (SEGURIDAD, JUSTICIA Y PAZ, 2018: 3), making many of the region’s urban areas resemble combat zones. This paradoxically results in LA having what some scholars term a “violent” or “hybrid” peace (BATTAGLIO, 2012; MARES, 2001). This article discusses and analyses the historical trajectory that contributed to this development, specifically analyzing post-Cold War security doctrine in the region through a racial lens. Using historical process-tracing and a review of previous academic literature, we describe how the constitution of national identities, as well as state articulations of “citizenship” and “crime,” has resulted in a specific way of viewing and treating afro-descend-ent people across LA. This process has also contributed to the current security crisis across the hemisphere.
Security, Crime, Race, Citizenship, Violence, Peace
Political Geography
Latin America