Present in the United States, Latin America and Europe, the Los Ñetas gang is structured in a pyramidal fashion, headed by a supreme leader incarcerated in a Puerto Rican prison. Yet, the global scale of La Asociación raises questions about its propensity to be governed. Three questions organize my reflection: How can a criminal world be led from a prison in Puerto Rico? How is the everyday of a vast network organized? And finally, how is the future and process of becoming a criminal thought about and acted upon? To answer these questions, I analyze three logics of action that define three key functions in the associative structure of the Ñetas gang: to lead, for the supreme leader; to organize, for the secretary; and to predict, for the president of the locals. I describe the ways in which power is exercised within La Asociación by describing how these logics operate in particular situations and the ways in which they reconfigure, or not, power relations. In this sense, I do not propose a theory of criminal government. Rather, I try to examine logic of action, tools, and the way individuals act to govern in a given situation.
- logic of action
- criminal power