The free-lance writer Claire Sterling has done what academics have so far failed to do: document the fact that corruption and the violence which so often accompanies it, represent a real security threat to the nations of this world (see Sterling, 1984, 1990, 1994). In three data-packed books, Sterling has exposed the ugly, dark side of the waves of money which flow through many major financial systems and, quite literally, flood some of the small states. Even the most jaded student of the Caribbean, for instance, has to take seriously some of her most recent revelations, not the least of which is the following startling assertion:
The world's first independent Mafia state emerged in 1993. The sovereign island of Aruba . . . proved to belong to the Mafia in fact if not in name. Small islands are not so hard to acquire (Sterling, 1994: 21).
While Sterling errs in calling Aruba a sovereign state - its defense and foreign policy are still under control of The Netherlands - her account of how the Caracas-based Cuntrera brothers had managed to penetrate Aruba and buy everything “from hotels . . . to the prime minister . . . ” found partial corroboration in the massive investigation of the Sicilian Mafia launched in Italy in the early 1990s.