Organised crime [1] flourishes best in the contexts provided by weak states [2]. The longstanding institutional weaknesses of most states in Latin America and the Caribbean, in combination with the existence of a highly lucrative underground drug trade in the Western hemisphere, make the countries in that corner of the world system not only especially prone to indigenous organised crime, but also attractive targets for transnational criminal enterprises. Indeed, the dubious practice of a number of the states in the region (e.g. Dominica, Panama, Uruguay and Paraguay) of 'selling' citizenship literally provided an open invitation to foreign crime groups to establish themselves in the hemisphere. As Tom Farer notes, when states are weak, but act as if they were strong ' ... spewing out laws and regulations purporting to regulate, inhibit, and tax private activity .. .' without the will or capacity

to enforce the law, they inevitably create spaces or niches between reality and legality that can be and frequently are exploited by organised crime in an unfortunate implication of globalisation [3].