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Narco-capitalism (derivatives: narco-state, narco-economy) is a pejorative neologism meant to express criticism of a state's policies and practices surrounding the international illegal drug trade. The terms are standard words with the prefix "narco-", defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "associated with the trade in illegal drugs".[1] It is a pejorative term meant to criticize and express disfavor about a government's drug policies; no state calls itself a narco-state as a neutral descriptor — thus, who uses the term, and in what context, is significant to understanding its intended meaning. For example Guinea-Bissau has been called a "narco-state" due to government officials often being bribed by traffickers to ignore the illegal trade.[2]

See also[edit]


  • (2002). Title of an online essay: "The Narco-State Cometh"[3]
  • (2006). An anonymous US official on Afghanistan: "Now what they have is a narco-economy. If they do not get corruption sorted they can slip into being a narco-state,".[4]


  1. ^ "narco-". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Washington Post newspaper: Guinea-Bissau coup: Prime minister arrested for helping drug trade, military says, 13 April 2012} "Analysts told the AP that in Guinea-Bissau, traffickers have bought off members of the government and military, turning the country into a 'narcostate.'"
  3. ^ "The Narco-State Cometh", Kuro5hin March 20, 2002.
  4. ^ "Afghan opium cultivation hits a record", by Fisnik Abrashi, Associated Press, August 16, 2006.

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