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Showing Teeth to the Dragons: State-building by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, 2002–2006
by Harvey F. Kline
University of Alabama Press, 2009
Cloth: 978-0-8173-1671-6 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5559-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8455-5
Library of Congress Classification F2279.K538 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 327.1

Kline argues that the first administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez marks a decisive break in a seemingly endless cycle of civil war. Not only were the levels of homicide and kidnapping dramatically reduced, but the state took the offensive against the insurgents, strengthening the armed forces which in turn demonstrated clear support for the president's policy.

The civil war in Colombia has waxed and waned for sixty years, with shifting goals, programs, and tactics among the contending parties. Bursts of appalling violence are punctuated by uneasy truces, cease-fires, and attempts at reconciliation. Varieties of Marxism, the economics of narco-trafficking, peasant land hunger, poverty, and oppression mix together in a toxic stew that has claimed the uncounted lives of peasants, conscript soldiers, and those who simply got in the way.

Kline believes that the changes of the President, although dramatic, are not necessarily permanent. He discusses what challenges must be overcome for the permanent reduction of organized violence in this war-torn nation.

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