Int'l Streets

The Chile Slums: Story of Drugs and Gangs

chilean slums chile drug trafficking

Short Story on the Chilean Slums

In one of Latin America’s most thriving and successful countries, a country that has seen greater progress than any other country in the region, there is also another side of Chile. A side that every country, every major city has, which consists of poverty and crime through street activities, despite at times being hidden from the public view.

The drug trade of Chile is not close to the level of Brazil, Colombia, or Mexico, but it still exists. With an increase crackdown on the drug trade, mainly the drug routes, in other countries, many traffickers have decided to use Chile as a new way to distribute through drawn up routes within the country to export narcotics out of Latin America.

With Chile’s geographical makeup, a long stretch of mountain ranges and the shore along the Pacific Ocean, and Chile’s location to two of the world’s leading cocaine producers of Peru and Bolivia, it comes to no surprise with the rise in drug trafficking, whether it is from natives or from foreigners like Colombians.

chilean slums chile slums

With the neighboring location to Peru and Bolivia, the northern region of Chile as the highest amount of drug activity, especially in places like Arica, which has also led to the authorities to send military troops to help combat the growing problem, even though some claim politics of making good on the fight on crime to enhance the views of the current administration is the only reason why.

While there have been drug activities in Chile since the 1970s, the 1980s is when the country saw an increase effort of drug trafficking that has drastically grown over the past few decades. As drug trafficking from outsiders and foreigners has been on the rise, so has drug usage within the major cities of Chile.

Another reason for the rise of Chile drug trafficking and narcotics activities within the is thought of the easy ability to launder money in the country, mainly due to specific bank laws and very lenient regulations compared to other places.

chilean slums

There is rarely an instance where there is drug activity and there is not a presence of gang activity. *According to, almost 25% of the Chilean population reside in a Chilean slum that is a gang infested neighborhood, which is mainly within the percentage of the communities of Santiago since a very large portion of the country’s population live either in or around Chile’s largest city.

While Chile is arguably the most successful country in Latin America, there have been a recent uproar as the citizens protest the country’s income and status inequality. An economy that has been growing since the later part of the 20th Century, and gained much momentum during the 2000s, many claim to have not benefit from Chile’s thriving economy. This could be a caused for a rise in drug usage and in narcotics trafficking.

Editorial Credit: erlucho /

Despite criminal and drug activities in the Chilean slums, the country of Chile has one of the lowest homicide rates in Latin America with the Chilean citizens being exposed to very little violence compared to the slums of Brazil or of Central America.

To conclude, the country of Chile is one of the most stable and thriving countries in Latin America. While just like any other country, along with some of the world’s most powerful and richest countries, there is crime, poverty, and drug activity.

*Feature Image Credit: Photo_Traveller /

For Chilean Slums Related Topics, Follow Link to the International Streets

Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

*Ramsey, Geoffrey. “Drug Gangs Run 80 Neighborhoods in Santiago, Chile”. Insight, 31 Oct. 2012

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