violence are estimated at $261 billion for the countries of South America. Paraguay spent about 3.8 percent of its national income annually in restoring crime damages in the past decade. Citizens are affected economically as well, since they suffer from loss of property or having to pay a lot in order to cover health costs. Many even choose to invest in security, due to their fear of becoming potential victims in the future.
DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
The Cambridge Dictionaries define impunity as “freedom from punishment or from the unpleasant results of something that has been done”. Impunity exists when a state fails to punish or impose sanctions on perpetrators of crime or illegal activity. In South America, there is an extremely high rate of impunity, due to a badly organized justice system and the fact that many crimes are not reported on a daily basis. In many of the countries, authorities themselves choose to ignore crimes and leave criminals unpunished, because of fear of facing consequences for not doing so.
A homicide is the act of a person killing another person. However, not all homicides are murders, since there is the possibility that the killing is unintended (manslaughter). Self-defense homicides are, most of the times, considered legal. South America is the region with the highest rate of homicides in the world. They are usually committed in order to traffic drugs, control areas, express political opinions, steal money etc.
A drug cartel is generally defined as “any organization that promotes, controls, or is significantly involved in drug trafficking”. The organization can have the form of a criminal street gang, an organized mafia group or even a drug-dealing individual. Drug cartels usually engage, apart from drug trafficking, in other crimes, such as murder and theft. Today, in countries like Venezuela or Brazil, drug cartels engage in slaughter, terrorism, and corruption of officials, causing a big threat to peace in the region.
The phenomenon of criminality in South America did not occur during this decade. More than 1 million people died between 2000 and 2010 as a result of criminal violence in the region. The situation that exists today has been caused by many different factors, which have led South America to lose its economic and political stability.
Causes of violent culture
It is a common belief that the main cause of high criminality rates is social inequality. According to the UN Human Development Report, the Latin America and Caribbean region, even though there has been significant progress made in reducing it, remains the