The Implications of Colombian Drug Industry and Death Squad Political Violence for U.S. Counternarcotics Policy
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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Violence dominates daily life in Colombia. Indeed, by any measure of nations not at war, Colombia is one of the most violent countries on earth. Last year, Colombia recorded over 20,000 murders, thousands of kidnappings and bombings, hundreds of disappearances, and countless other acts of brutality. Moreover, these acts affect much of the nation, from the largest cities to rural and agricultural regions. That a strong democratic tradition survives in the face of this onslaught is testimony not only to the strength and resilience of the political structure in Colombia but to the peculiar nature of the political violence. Historically, bloodshed in Colombia has been a byproduct of the democratic process. Although in some cases the violence is the result of clashes between the state and revolutionary ideologies, more often the mayhem is grounded in left-right political divisions that demarcate traditional political camps. Much of the carnage in Colombia today is a continuation of this historical pattern, but with a new twist. Previously, factors such as disputed elections and political assassination have precipitated prolonged periods of violent conflict in Colombia.
- Sociology and Law