Latin American Paramilitarism in “The Age of Democracy”

by Machiavelli



On August 20, 2012, retired Colombian military general Mauricio Santoyo, former security chief for ex-president Alvaro Uribe, pled guilty to working with the right-wing paramilitary organization, the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia. In his plea agreement, Santoyo acknowledged accepting at least $5-million in bribes from the murderous, drug-running United Self Defence Forces between 2001 to 2008, that is, during the time he served as Uribe’s anti-terror security tzar.

Such murderous double-dealing of course has real and murderous consequences, most of all, for Colombia’s poor. A sordid tale of institutional violence that is examined in two recent book-length studies, Julie Mazzei’s Death Squads or Self-Defense Forces? and Jasmin Hristov’s Blood and Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia. Coinciding with these studies, another critical addition to this chilling literature is Jeb Sprague’s Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti, released by Monthly Review Press in August of 2012.


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