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Narco-state (derivatives: narco-capitalism, 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]


A narco-state is one where law agencies do little stop the trade in illegal drugs and the situation is widely taken advantage of.

West Africa[edit]

An indicator of the problem in West Africa is the sizes of drug seizures. They have risen from 600kg per year, between 1998 and 2003, to 3000kg in 2006. Colombian drug cartels have increasingly used the West African coast as Jamaica and Panama have increased policing. The Guardian called Guinea-Bissau the first narco-state. The publication noted the country's lack of prisons, few police and poverty attracted the traffickers.[3] Foreign Policy reported that the Guinea-Bissau government may be complicit with the trafficking. It also questioned the effectiveness of money from United States, European Union and United Nation sent to help fight the illegal trade.[4]

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