Mafia State is a category coined by some political scientists to analyze a recent phenomenon in international relations. It is not another pejorative expression to refer to autocratic or totalitarian States.
A new Mafia State may emerge wherever an autocratic political elite that ends up dominating State institutions and controlling national policies, use them to run criminal operations for their own benefit while keeping their activities beyond the reach of any national institutional check and balances or international monitoring.
While in the 1970s and 80s the Castroist State developed a punctual link with drug trafficking and other illegal operations, after the fall of the USSR and the rise of Chávez to power, the Cuban State suffered an essential mutation in its DNA. The merging of the dictatorial oligarchies in Cuba and Venezuela gave rise to Cubazuela, the first transnational Mafia State in the Americas.