To understand even a little the role that fear and terror play in enforcing poverty in Latin America, we would do well to consider the phenomenon known as moral panic.

To speak of moral panic is to speak of a threat that spreads like an uncontainable flood across the entire social field, a threat of which, it seems, we do not know the cause or origin. This concept is similar to cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard’s (2004: 42) notion of “terror” because, like moral panic, terror follows no logic, has no end, and extends beyond violence.For Baudrillard (2004: 42):

Terror is not violence. It is not real, specific, historical violence, the kind that has a cause and a goal. Terror has no goal, it is an extreme phenomenon, that is, that in a way it is beyond its goal: it is more

violent than violence. Today, we know that. Any traditional violence renews the system provided that it has meaning. The only real threat to the system is symbolic violence, the kind that has no meaning and provides no ideological alternative whatsoever.