A Cox-Hazard Model analysis on 1,196 peace-years between 1945 and 1999 reveals that drug presence in a country actually increases the peace spell following a civil war. As shown in Figure 1, drug producing/ or transit countries experience a more durable peace than non-drug producing/ or transit countries. It may be that although no civil war recurs, criminal violence increases. Criminals are likely involved for purely material gains. If these criminals can make material gains without engaging in war, all the better for them. This certainly has been the case with the demobilization of the Auto Defenses of Colombia (AUC), the largest paramilitary group in Colombia with membership around 29,000. The group began to demobilize its troops in 2002 (Perdomo 2007; Richani 2007), but it seems that members could not walk away from the drug trade that they had been involved in. The Organization of American States expressed concern in 2010 “about the rising number of homicides in Colombia as a result of gangs that have emerged from demobilized paramilitary groups” (Glade 2011). From a report this month, we know that 513 former paramilitary members and drug traffickers were arrested in Northern Colombia (Alsema 2011). All arrests took place in the department of Cordoba and the Bajo Cauca region in the Antioquia department. The region is considered one of the most important drug routes to the Pacific and its extremely high murder rates are blamed on the groups formed from demobilized paramilitary organization AUC and the now defunct Norte del Valle cartel (Alsema 2011).
Further, the National Reparation and Reconciliation Commission in Colombia found that “15.5 percent of 55,000 former members of illegal armed groups have rearmed, meaning 8,500 former paramilitaries and guerillas have rearmed as of December 2010” (Glade 2011).
A second explanation for drug presence increasing the durability of peace is that war draws unwanted outside attention and the attention of the army into drug operations areas. It also encourages the formation of informal patronage between insurgent groups and drug producers. Perhaps ending the war saves drug producers from the “war taxes” they had been paying to insurgents. Further, violence is bad for the cultivation and transportation of dugs. As a result, governments are less threatened by criminal activity than insurgency, giving them motivation not to encroach on the narco-rebels’ business.