DF Testimony House Homeland Security June 2023

Transnational Criminal Organizations: The Menacing Threat to the U.S. Homeland

Testimony of Douglas Farah
President, IBI Consultants, LLC
Before the
House Committee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence

The multi-billion dollar illicit economies in Latin America, centered on the cocaine trade but diversifying to new commodities and activities, are undergoing profound restructuring with long-term strategic repercussions for the United States and its allies in the hemisphere. New actors, new markets and new products are driving fragmentation among traditional groups, consolidation of criminalized economies within the Bolivarian Joint Criminal Enterprise (BJCE) and convergence among different actors that are driving instability and corruption.

The growing, ideologically agnostic criminalized authoritarian model is spreading across Latin America. Authoritarian cliques are staying in power through alliances with transnational criminal structures that renders ideology almost meaningless. This new approach has opened new possibilities for formerly antagonistic groups. One-time ideological opponents are no longer considered enemies, but potential partners who can provide or purchase specific criminal services and financial rewards.