Colombia’s mafia is no longer the largest in the world, according to Edgardo Buscaglia, a United Nations (UN) advisor on corruption and organized crime.
In an interview with Mexican newspaper El Universal, Buscaglia said that the Russian-Ukrainian mafia is currently the largest world, followed by the Chinese and Mexican organizations.
According the UN advisor, the Colombian drug cartels, along with the Sicilian mafia, the Jamaican-British Yardies and the Japanese Yakuza, are “far below” in terms of size and power, compared to the top three mafias.
The information comes from an annual study carried out by the International Center for Legal and Economic Development, a research centre which Buscaglia runs.
The study indicates that the Mexican cartels have increased their presence in the U.S., Canadian, European and Asian black markets by 735% over the last four years whilst the Colombian mafia has decreased in size. The study attributes Colombia’s drop in organized crime to the policies of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
“President Uribe has given partial amnesty to certain groups, benefits to certain groups and opened the door to certain groups who want to enter into legal sectors, with relative success, and with those who want to continue with the old way, the state has shown its ability to perform. It has purged 32% of Colombian legislators, which is a serious political cleansing,” Buscaglia said.
According to the UN advisor, when a nation’s elite become fed up with the effects of organized crime “they begin to react and that elite demands the [Russian President Vladimir] ‘Putin effect’ or the ‘Uribe effect.’ Uribe and Putin are a consequence of the business and political elite who generated a monster, enjoyed the party, until the party began to eat them up. It’s then that they demand a new regime that can put a limit on it.”