Small Wars Journal

The Narco Hybrid-Threat

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 12:06am

The Narco Hybrid-Threat

Paulina Rios Maya

Although a plethora of literature has already debated what should be categorised as a hybrid threat, most of the research is still based on contesting the definition rather than an analysis of specific case studies. With this in mind, this paper posits that the rapid development of tactics used by Mexican narco-cartels has allowed these organisations to build a solid structure of influence. A structure that has amplified their efforts to coerce the state while increasing their capacity to dislocate social life and erode state institutions. Thus, by evaluating the Sinaloa Cartel’s strategic and operational methods, it demonstrates how these organisations deserve a place in the hybrid threat category.

Introduction

The most significant threat to Mexico’s stability to-date continues to be domestic organised crime, specifically crimes related to drug-trafficking or the so-called ‘narco-cartels’. In the last decade, Mexico has registered more than 396,146 violent homicides, mostly attributed to criminal organisations associated with drug-trafficking.[1] Since 2006, the year former president Felipe Calderón first declared the ‘War on Drugs’, organised crime has not decreased in size nor influence. Instead, it has grown in prominence and become increasingly violent and demonstrative. In 2019 alone, there was a total of 37,315 murders. Thus, one murder every 23 minutes.[2]

Unfortunately, these figures only represent death itself and do not account for the totality of offensive tactics used by these groups to create state asymmetries. This paper argues that Mexican ‘narco-cartels’ have become so powerful that it is no longer possible to ignore their enormous potential to destabilise the region, primarily because these organisations have incorporated both conventional and non-conventional tactics against the state.[3] As a result it is useful to consider Mexican cartels as a robust security challenge that requires to be analysed from a hybrid threat perspective.

The concept of conflict hybridisation and its embedded adversaries is not new to the academic debate. To illustrate, Mary Kaldor, in her book New and Old Wars, applies the concept of ‘New War’ to the conflicts of the Middle East and the Balkan region. However, she argues against using the term ‘war’ to Mexican narco-cartels as these should be classified as criminal rather than military.[4] This formulation is rejected here and instead, this paper embraces Teun Voeten’s argumentation that Mexico’s situation requires a unique approach as narco-cartels apply a multiplicity of tactics that increase their level of influence.[5] Thus, making them less predictable and dangerous challengers to society. That being said, this essay intends to shed light on the issue of Mexican ‘narco-cartels’ and whether or not the recent developments of their strategic and operational tactics, can grant them a place in the hybrid threat category.

To support this claim, the methods used by the ‘Cártel de Sinaloa’ (CdS) are examined. (See Map).[6] This organisation was selected, taking into account two factors. First, to demonstrate that the organisations using these methods are not new emergent groups, the existence of well-established cartels and the development of their hybrid tactics must be considered. Thus, the CdS was selected as it is one of the oldest cartels in Mexico. Second, to understand how the narco-cartel’s tactics and strategies can be considered retaliatory towards the state, the determinant factors that make these organisations fit the hybrid category in the first place must be identified. Hence, the CdS was selected as it is known for its diverse operations and methods.

CdS

Territories claimed by the CdS – Recreation by the author.[6]

Moreover, to situate our case study in the framework of a hybrid threat, the latter must first be defined. For this essay, will use the following definition by Russell Glenn:

An adversary that simultaneously and adaptively employs some combination of (1) political, military, economic, social, and information means, and (2) conventional, irregular, catastrophic, terrorism, and disruptive/criminal warfare methods. It may include a combination of state and non-state actors.[7]

However, due to size constraints, this essay only considers some of the factors mentioned in the definition, these are; military and information means, as well as conventional, irregular and terrorism methods. Additionally, by exploring if the CdS has a combination of state or non-state actors, their political means must be exposed. Finally, other works to build upon this one to situate the threat and provide a more encompassing framework using different definitions and variables are encouraged.

Command and Control

On 17 October 2019, a precipitated operation by the Mexican government led to a historical confrontation where the CdS conventionally challenged the state.[8] The incident took place once the news broke that Ovidio Guzmán, son of ‘El Chapo,’ was captured by the Mexican security forces, in the city of Culiacán. Although the official version of the operation remains contradictory, one thing remains clear. The CdS possesses high-powered weapons.[9]

Commonly known as Culiacán’s ‘Black Thursday’, the unprecedented counter-operation, demonstrated that the narco-cartel had the power to subdue both the Mexican Army and the National Guard.[10] The CdS sent thousands of its members to terrorise the city wearing military-style clothing, ballistic helmets and AK-47s. Some members were also sent to strategically pressure government officials by positioning themselves in front of governmental institutions with Barrett 50s, otherwise known as Special Application Scoped Rifles.[11] While Ovidio was still retained, various members of the cartel were sent to military and civil housing units, where many of the relatives of the security forces resided, holding them hostage until the government ceded to release Ovidio.[12] Similarly, to avoid the possible transfer of Ovidio to the airport for extradition, hundreds of buses and private cars were intercepted and set on fire by the CdS to block routes in and out of the city.[13]

Eventually, in a matter of hours, the cartel’s operation managed to bring the Mexican state to its knees, forcing the government to retreat and release the drug lord’s son.[14] Days after the event, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the arrest warrant was still in order, but that the operation would be done without putting the population lives at risk.[15] However, a year later, nothing is known of Ovidio’s whereabouts or of new attempts to arrest him. Accordingly, this incident showed that these types of organisations have the capabilities to coordinate an international operation that employs conventional military-type logic and strategies as advanced or more than those used by the state.

Coercion and the Cyberspace

Although the previous example illustrates some of the strategic tactics these organisations use, we must also delineate the operational hybrid-type tactics employed by the CdS to coerce the state and intimidate the population.[16] According to Jennifer Hesterman, all narco-cartels have a common ‘disregard for human life’ [17], as they use methods of torture and dismemberment on their victims as a form of calculated horror. In most cases, the bodies of the victims of the CdS are used to cause terror, as they are deliberately displayed in public. “On top of cars, rolled onto a dance floor, lined up in rows […] in parks, left in front of politician’s homes […], or impaled on poles and fences.”[18] Such tactics have helped these organisations to psychologically impact society in a way that the population remains silent and fearful of taking any initiative against the cartel’s interests.

The use of systematic violence as an operational tactic is critical for cartels, as it allows them to promote their agendas while neutralising government institutions, and its officials. Therefore, allowing cartels like the CdS to strengthen their territorial control and gain passive support by silencing the population.[19] Similarly, the CdS has a reputation for using extreme extortion methods against politicians and civil servants. To date, the cartel has a body count of over a thousand politicians and officials that did not want to ‘cooperate’ with them, or otherwise showed some support to rival cartels.[20]

Moreover, similar to the methods employed by terrorist groups such as ‘ISIS’, the CdS has actively used intense forms of cyber-propaganda, to send messages to their adversaries. An illustration of their usage of the cyberspace would be the non-attribution website named ‘Blog del Narco,’ where photographs and videos of politicians, police officers, and journalists being interrogated and tortured are publicly accessible. A majority of these videos often culminate in an on-camera assassination, converting these images into messages that threaten anyone who dares to oppose to the cartel’s goals, if they wish not to have similar consequences.[21] These videos are also often published by the cartel members on YouTube and other streaming platforms so that the general population has access to them.[22]

In this case, the use of cyberspace by narco-cartels is just another tool used to manipulate the state psychologically. Considering that the CdS uses the internet and social networks to sharpen and expand their interests, we hold that informational coercion has become yet another weapon for narco-cartels.[23] Consequently, achieving to silence and influence society while making any efforts from the state to stop their activities extremely challenging.

Corruption

When analysing narco-cartels, we should not only observe the impact of illicit drugs. Instead, the phenomenon should be studied as an all-encompassing criminal threat, especially considering Mexico’s corruption and the poorly implemented rule of law which has been yet another variable contributing to the continuation of the cartel’s activities.

Narco-cartels are often associated with formal state institutions, where a criminal-political alliance is formed. According to America Guevara, “federal corruption offers immunity to any operation that might harm the cartel via apprehension, dismantling, or seizures,”[24] therefore, eroding good governance and halting any efforts to stop the cartel's activities. In this case, the infiltration of narco-cartels into governmental institutions is not only linked to the loss of authority by the government. But it also occurs due to the formation of invisible alliances between authorities and criminals, mostly solidified by corruption. In this way, the CdS takes advantage of the complacency of corrupted state authorities to penetrate state structures.

Systemic corruption among government officials is a critical issue that contributes to the proliferation of narco-cartels and their activities. That is to say, that the illegal activities and hybrid methods used by cartels are not only carried out by non-state actors but are also facilitated by state-actors. Therefore, the ‘narco-cartel’ threat should not be merely considered a non-state actor phenomenon, but one that is deeply intertwined with both state-actors and their institutions.[25]

Similarly, the cartels corrode the Mexican political sphere by intervening in the electoral system. For instance, the CdS is widely known to sponsor political parties and campaigns, especially if the candidates are supportive of their agenda. According to Guevara, the CdS has gone to great lengths to control political outcomes by using coercive measures like kidnapping and torturing candidates, to force them to comply with the cartel interests.[26] Therefore, we speculate that these activities provide the CdS with political leverage to continue controlling the actions taken by the government. At the same time, it allows them to maintain both passive and active support.[27] That being said, narco-cartels cannot be seen as being outsiders of the government, or external to the political sphere, as these organisations have deeply penetrated the Mexican institutional system.

Conclusion

In sum, while Mexican organised crime is sometimes not considered a threat to the international community [28], narco-cartels and their methods are prone to hybridisation with other phenomena.[29] Which would enable them to expand their reach beyond the confines of national borders, and potentially spill over.[30] Then again, this hybridisation should not be understood as the mere transformation of the narco-cartels into other criminal groups, but rather the evolution of these organisations towards a more solid structure of influence.

However, even if there is still some controversy among scholars about the concept of hybrid threat.[31] If the definition of Russell Glenn is followed, narco-cartels do fall within the hybrid threat category.[32] In the sense that their cellular functioning operates with military logic and strategy, as illustrated by Culiacán’s ‘Black Thursday.’ In other words, they use military means to pressure the state to follow their orders. Likewise, the idea that these cartels are solely non-state actors involved in the production of illicit drugs is erroneous, as there is evidence that these behave and indeed have characteristics of hybrid adversaries.

In any case, the ambiguous nature of the term ‘hybrid threat’ opens various options to analyse narco-cartels. First, the role of violence is central to the threatening nature of these organisations, as these adaptively use coercion in different ways to articulate their strategy. Giving them the ability to influence the environment in which they operate. Second, their increasing use of cyberspace can be seen as a tool that multiplies the effects of violence. However, it is also a tactic that amplifies their power-counter-power dynamic with the state, which could potentially incite a portion of the population to support them or even regard them as an alternative source of legitimacy.[33] Third, these organisations have shown to have substantial capacities to dislocate social life and erode the state institutions. Therefore, the destabilising potential of these non-state actors should not be underestimated, especially if it is taken into account that corrupted state-actors are also facilitating their activities. And finally, while the level of violence and warlike confrontations exerted by Mexican cartels might be relatively limited when compared with other parts of the world, its consequences on the state, the institutional apparatus, and social life are devastating.

Therefore, it is argued that for a threat to merit the hybrid qualification, it must meet two conditions; the adversary must systematically involve the use of violence[34] and put institutional stability and social order at risk.[35] Two variables that organisations like the CdS meet. Moreover, even if the concept of ‘hybrid threat’ is highly contested. In the case of narco-cartels, it is dangerous to underestimate its threat by categorising it merely as a drug-related crime. As not giving the issue enough weight, there is a potential to deflect any efforts against these organisations, resulting in a state and an international community that remain distracted from their preparation to face these intricate emerging threats.

Recommendations

Overlooking the power embedded in the narco-cartel strategies is dangerous. By not giving them sufficient attention, the efforts made against their influence is often undermined. Thus, the following points should be kept in mind to counter these types of adversaries effectively:

While narco-cartels are known for operating illicit activities, these organisations also play a vital role in shaping society's identities and actions. This gives them the capabilities to create a self-regulation mechanism for the population. In Mexico’s case, the involvement of civil society is vital in the fight against these organisations. Therefore, policymakers must ensure that society understands the implications of receiving welfare benefits from these organisations and the impact of normalising their activities. That being said, the state needs to provide the necessary resources to vulnerable communities, especially those who are frequently victims of the narco-cartels.

Organised crime differs from terrorist organisations in at least one key aspect—most criminal groups do not seek to topple the government or seize formal power. Based on this assumption, most policies categorise organised crime as an economic activity that can be explained and understood by only looking at the market's invisible hand. We reject this idea and postulate that the conceptualisation of criminal activities as a by-product of market forces fails to account for the experience of the individuals who make up these organisations. Therefore, a practical approach to counter these groups require policymakers to develop an improved understanding of how criminal organisations develop and wield political and economic power through fast-evolving asymmetric methods.

Finally, as shown in this essay, the hybridisation of narco-cartels can further disrupt the state. Mainly because their tactics often involve changing the state’s rules, creating new players in the political sphere and reconfiguring power to fit their interests. By ignoring the recent evolution of Mexico's narco-cartel strategies, the state is consequently ignoring the power these organisations have. With that being said, the international community needs to recognise that crime might be a different kind of war. Nevertheless, it is not one to be considered either informal or inherently a-political, but rather a group of well-informed adversaries that have figured out the state's all-predictable strategic reversals against their activities. Policymakers should implement a multifactorial approach that encompasses anti-corruption efforts, auditing processes, the involvement of civil society and NGOs. Likewise, there should be an introduction of educational curriculums that include the consequences of joining these types of organisations to young people and implementing accountability measures that prevent top-officials from further normalising the narco-activities.

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Hector Herrera Argüelles, “La guerra híbrida en México.” [“The hybrid war in Mexico.”] 24 Horas. 18 November 2019, https://www.24-horas.mx/2019/11/28/la-guerra-hibrida-en-mexico/.

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June S. Beittel, “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations.” Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. No. R41576. 28 July 2020, https://doi.org/10.17141/urvio.25.2019.4249.

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Raúl Durán. “A un año del ‘jueves negro:’ Lo que pasó el 17 de octubre de 2019 en Culiacán.” [One year after "Black Thursday:” What happened on October 17, 2019 in Culiacán.”] Debate. 17 October 2020, https://www.debate.com.mx/policiacas/A-un-ano-del-Jueves-Negro-lo-que-paso-el-17-de-octubre-de-2019-en-Culiacan-20201016-0141.html.

Efrén Flores, “El CJNG ya tiene mayor presencia en México que el de Sinaloa, y en EU se afincó en 70% del territorio.” [“The CJNG already has a greater presence in Mexico than that of Sinaloa, and in the US it settled in 70% of the territory.”] Sin Embargo. 16 January 2020https://www.sinembargo.mx/16-01-2020/3710113.

Mike Fowler, “Mexico: A case of Hybrid Warfare” in Robert Tomes, Paul Brister, and Thomas Schiller, Eds., Hybrid Warfare: Transnational Threats and Policy Choices for an Era of Persistent Conflict. New York: Center for Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA). 2011, , https://www.academia.edu/12251948/Mexico_a_Case_of_Hybrid_Warfare.

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 András Rácz, “Russia's Hybrid War in Ukraine: Breaking the Enemy's Ability to Resist. FIIA Report 43. Helsinki: The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Fall 2015, https://www.fiia.fi/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fiiareport43.pdf.

Joel Rosenberg and Ricardo Leiva, “El narcotráfico está dentro del poder político y económico de México.” [“Drug trafficking is within the political and economic power of Mexico.” Interview of Sergio González Rodríguez.] Ciento Ochenta. 12 September 2010, https://www.180.com.uy/articulo/13842_El-narcotrafico-esta-en-el-poder-mexicano.

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Endnotes

[1] “Década violenta en México: Más de 200,000 homicidios y un asesinato cada 23 minutos.” [Violent decade in Mexico: More than 200,000 homicides and one murder every 23 minutes.”] Infobae. 1 January 2020, https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2020/01/01/decada-violenta-en-mexico-mas-de-200000-homicidios-y-un-asesinato-cada-23-minutos/.

[2] Pablo Sánchez Olmos. “2019, el año más sangriento de la historia reciente de Mexico.” [2019, the bloodiest year in recent Mexican history.”] El Mundo. 24 December 2019, https://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2019/12/24/5e00fa36fdddffff808b4604.html.

[3] Román D. Ortiz, “El concepto de guerra híbrida y su relevancia para América Latina.” [“Hybrid warfare concept and its relevance in Latin America.” Revista Ensayos Militares. Vol. 1, no.2. 2015. pp. 131-148, https://observatorioterrorismo.com/eedyckaz/2020/08/El-concepto-de-guerra-h%C3%ADbrida-y-su-relevancia-para-América-Latina.pdf.

[4] Mary Kaldor, New & Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2012, https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=23193.

[5] Teun Voeten, Mexican Drug Violence: Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty. (A Small Wars Journal-El Centro Book.) Bloomington: Xlibris. 2020, https://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Drug-Violence-Predatory-Capitalism/dp/1664134158/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1607276330&refinements=p_27%3ATeun%20Voeten&s=books&sr=1-1.

[6] The CdS is considered the most influential cartel in Mexico, as it claims 70% of the national territory. For data on map refer to June S. Beittel, “Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations.” Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. No. R41576. 28 July 2020, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41576.pdf.

[7] Russell W. Glenn, “Thoughts on 'hybrid' conflict.” Small Wars Journal. 3 February 2009, https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/thoughts-on-hybrid-conflict.

[8] Hector Herrera Argüelles, “La guerra híbrida en México.” [“The hybrid war in Mexico.”] 24 Horas. 18 November 2019, https://www.24-horas.mx/2019/11/28/la-guerra-hibrida-en-mexico/.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “A un año del "jueves negro" en Culiacán aún se oye el ruido de metralla y el temor late fuerte.” [“One year after "Black Thursday" in Culiacán the noise of shrapnel is still heard and fear beats strong.”] Sin Embargo. 17 October 2020, https://www.sinembargo.mx/17-10-2020/3878792.

[11] “Las imágenes perturbadoras del jueves negro en Culiacán.” [The disturbing images of Black Thursday in Culiacán.”] La Silla Rota. 18 October 2019, https://lasillarota.com/estados/las-imagenes-perturbadoras-del-jueves-negro-en-culiacan-culiacan-sinaloa-balacera-hijo/327944.

[12] Raúl Durán, “A un año del ‘jueves negro:’ Lo que pasó el 17 de octubre de 2019 en Culiacán.” [One year after "Black Thursday:” What happened on October 17, 2019 in Culiacán.”] Debate. 17 October 2020, https://www.debate.com.mx/policiacas/A-un-ano-del-Jueves-Negro-lo-que-paso-el-17-de-octubre-de-2019-en-Culiacan-20201016-0141.html

[13] Ibid.

[15] Op. cit. Note 10.

[16] America Y. Guevara, “Propaganda in Mexico's Drug War.” Journal of Strategic Security. Vol. 6, no. 3, Fall 2013. pp. 131-151, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26485065.

[17] Jennifer L. Hesterman , “Chapter 3: The Criminal-Terrorist Nexus” in Jennifer L. Hesterman, Transnational Crime and the Criminal-Terrorist Nexus: Synergies and Corporate Trends. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press. 1 May 2005. pp. 25-49, http://www.jstor.com/stable/resrep13970.10.

[18] Howard Campbell, “Narco-propaganda in the Mexican ‘drug war.’” Latin American Perspectives. Vol. 41, no. 2. 30 April 2012. pp. 60-77, https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582X12443519.

[19] Op. cit. Note 16.

[20] Mike Fowler, “Mexico: A case of Hybrid Warfare” in Robert Tomes, Paul Brister, and Thomas Schiller, Eds., Hybrid Warfare: Transnational Threats and Policy Choices for an Era of Persistent Conflict. New York: Center for Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA). 2011, https://www.academia.edu/12251948/Mexico_a_Case_of_Hybrid_Warfare.

[21] Op. cit. Note 18.

[22] Op. cit. Note 18.

[23] John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus, “Mexican Drug Lords vs. Cybervigilates and the Social Media.” Mexidata. 11 March 2012, https://www.academia.edu/8753016/Mexican_Drug_Lords_vs_Cybervigilantes_and_the_Social_Media

[24] Op. cit. Note 16.

[25] Interview of Sergio González RodríguezJoel Rosenberg and Ricardo Leiva, “El narcotráfico está dentro del poder político y económico de México.” [“Drug trafficking is within the political and economic power of Mexico.” Interview of Sergio González Rodríguez.] Ciento Ochenta. 12 September 2010, https://www.180.com.uy/articulo/13842_El-narcotrafico-esta-en-el-poder-mexicano.

[26] Op. cit. Note 16.

[27] Op. cit. Note 16.

[28] Ann Neumann, “The Narco Saint.” The Baffler. Vol. 38, April 2018. pp. 50-59, https://www.jstor.org/stable/26406443; Gary Moore, “No Man's Land: The Mystery of Mexico's Drug Wars.” World Affairs. Vol. 173, no. 5. February 2011. pp. 51-62, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41059515; and Antoine Ducoux, “The Journalist and the Mexican 'War on Drugs' between Chronicle and Fiction: Edgar Piñon Balderrama, Don Winslow, and Luis Humberto Crosthwaite.” CR: The New Centennial Review. Vol. 20, no. 2. Fall 2020. pp. 125-154, https://doi.org/10.14321/crnewcentrevi.20.2.0125.

[29] Including but not limited to, terrorism, guerrilla, and insurgency.

[30] Mariano Bartolomé, “Amenazas y conflictos híbridos: Características distintivas, evolución en el tiempo y manifestaciones preponderantes.” [“Hybrid Conflicts and Threats: Main Features, its Evolution across Time and Preponderant Forms.”] URVIO. Revista Latinoamericana De Estudios De Seguridad. No.25. May 2019. Pp. 8-23, https://doi.org/10.17141/urvio.25.2019.4249.

[31] See William J. Nemeth, “Future War and Chechnya: A Case for Hybrid Warfare.” Unpublished Masters Thesis. Monterey: Naval Postgraduate School. June 2002, https://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/5865/02Jun_Nemeth.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y; “Russia's Hybrid War in Ukraine: Breaking the Enemy's Ability to Resist.” FIIA Report 43. Helsinki: The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Fall 2015, https://www.fiia.fi/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fiiareport43.pdf; and Frank G. Hoffman, Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Wars. Arlington, VA: Potomac Institute for policy Studies. December 2007, https://www.potomacinstitute.org/images/stories/publications/potomac_hybridwar_0108.pdf.

[32] Op. cit. Note 7.

[33] Op. cit. Note 23.

[34] José De Arimatéia da Cruz, “Cyber (In)Security, the Americas, and U.S. National Security.” Strategic Insights. 9 December 2016. pp. 1-11, https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=795358

[35] Op. cit. Note 23.

Categories: El Centro

About the Author(s)

Paulina Rios Maya is a graduate student in the International Security MA program at Sciences Po, Paris. She has worked with the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Programme at the World Customs Organisation, where she was the project facilitator of the WG for the Integrity Development Guide, a key document used by all member states. During her studies, Paulina presented her research on criminogenic politics and organised crime on various platforms, such as Transparency International Summer School on Anti-Corruption. Amidst these projects, she founded various organisations, including the ‘Correctional Integrity curriculum’ — an initiative aimed to foster healthy relations between inmates and correctional staff in Belgium. Currently, Paulina was selected to complete an academic project in Beijing to learn more about Chinese Criminal law while pursuing her law enforcement certification. She holds dual bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Political Science from both Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her CEFR language skills are Spanish (C2), English (C2), French (B2/C1), Chinese (A2/B1).