Drawn in part from personal interviews with participants and witnesses, Herbert Braun’s analysis of the riot’s roots, its patterns and consequences, provides a dramatic account of this historic turning point and an illuminating look at the making of modern Colombia.
Braun’s narrative begins in the year 1930 in Bogotá, Colombia, when a generation of Liberals and Conservatives came to power convinced they could kept he peace by being distant, dispassionate, and rational. One of these politicians, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, was different. Seeking to bring about a society of merit, mass participation, and individualism, he exposed the private interests of the reigning politicians and engendered a passionate relationship with his followers. His assassination called forth urban crowds that sought to destroy every visible evidence of public authority of a society they felt no longer had the moral right to exist.
This is a book about behavior in public: how the actors—the political elite, Gaitán, and the crowds—explained and conducted themselves in public, what they said and felt, and what they sought to preserve or destroy, is the evidence on which Braun draws to explain the conflicts contained in Colombian history. The author demonstrates that the political culture that was emerging through these tensions offered the hope of a peaceful transition to a more open, participatory, and democratic society.
“Most Colombians regard Jorge Eliécer Gaitán as a pivotal figure in their nation’s history, whose assassination on April 9, 1948 irrevocably changed the course of events in the twentieth century. . . . As biography, social history, and political analysis, Braun’s book is a tour de force.”—Jane M. Rausch, Hispanic American Historical Review
In this audacious book, Ana María Ochoa Gautier explores how listening has been central to the production of notions of language, music, voice, and sound that determine the politics of life. Drawing primarily from nineteenth-century Colombian sources, Ochoa Gautier locates sounds produced by different living entities at the juncture of the human and nonhuman. Her "acoustically tuned" analysis of a wide array of texts reveals multiple debates on the nature of the aural. These discussions were central to a politics of the voice harnessed in the service of the production of different notions of personhood and belonging. In Ochoa Gautier's groundbreaking work, Latin America and the Caribbean emerge as a historical site where the politics of life and the politics of expression inextricably entangle the musical and the linguistic, knowledge and the sensorial.
Between Legitimacy and Violence is an authoritative, sweeping history of Colombia’s “long twentieth century,” from the tumultuous civil wars of the late nineteenth century to the drug wars of the late twentieth. Marco Palacios, a leading Latin American historian, skillfully blends political, economic, social, and cultural history. In an expansive chronological narrative full of vivid detail, he explains Colombia’s political history, discussing key leaders, laws, parties, and ideologies; corruption and inefficiency; and the paradoxical nature of government institutions, which, while stable and enduring, are unable to prevent frequent and extreme outbursts of violence. Palacios traces the trajectory of the economy, addressing agriculture (particularly the economic significance of coffee), the development of a communication and transportation infrastructure, industrialization, and labor struggles. Palacios also gives extensive attention to persistent social inequalities, the role of the Catholic Church, demographic shifts such as urbanization and emigration, and Colombia’s relationship with the United States. Offering a comparative perspective, he frequently contrasts Colombia with other Latin American nations. Throughout, Palacios offers a helpful interpretive framework, connecting developments with their causes and consequences. By thoroughly illuminating Colombia’s past, Between Legitimacy and Violence sheds much-needed light on the country’s violent present.
Responding to pressure from the United States, the Colombian government in 1996 intensified aerial fumigation of coca plantations in the western Amazon region. This crackdown on illicit drug cultivation sparked an uprising among the region’s cocaleros, small-scale coca producers and harvest workers. More than 200,000 campesinos marched that summer to protest the heightened threat to their livelihoods. Between the Guerrillas and the State is an ethnographic analysis of the cocalero social movement that emerged from the uprising. María Clemencia Ramírez focuses on how the movement unfolded in the department (state) of Putumayo, which has long been subject to the de facto rule of guerrilla and paramilitary armies. The national government portrayed the area as uncivilized and disorderly and refused to see the coca growers as anything but criminals. Ramírez chronicles how the cocaleros demanded that the state recognize campesinos as citizens, provide basic services, and help them to transition from coca growing to legal and sustainable livelihoods.
Chronicles the peace process negotiations between Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
In Between the Sword and the Wall: The Santos Peace Negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Harvey Kline, a noted expert on contemporary Colombian politics, brings to a close his multivolume chronicle of the incessant violence that has devastated Colombia’s population, politics, and military for decades. This, his newest work on the subject, recounts and analyzes the negotiations between Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which ended with a peace agreement in 2016.
The FARC insurgency began in 1964, and every Colombian president after 1980 unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a peace agreement with the group. Kline analyzes how the Santos administration was ultimately able to negotiate peace with the FARC. The agreement failed to receive the approval of the Colombian people in an October 2016 plebiscite, but a renegotiated version was later approved by the congress in the same year. Afterward, more than 7,000 rebels turned over their weapons to the UN mission in Colombia. The former combatants were then to be judged by a special court empowered to punish but not imprison those who had violated human rights. Throughout the book, Kline emphasizes the dual nature of the Santos negotiations, first with the FARC and second with the democratic opposition to the agreement led by former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
Kline provides readers with a well-researched analysis based on a variety of resources, including media articles and primary documents from the government, international organizations, and the FARC. He also conducted extensive interviews with twenty-eight government officials and Colombian experts from all ideological persuasions.
In Black and Green, Kiran Asher provides a powerful framework for reconceptualizing the relationship between neoliberal development and social movements. Moving beyond the notion that development is a hegemonic, homogenizing force that victimizes local communities, Asher argues that development processes and social movements shape each other in uneven and paradoxical ways. She bases her argument on ethnographic analysis of the black social movements that emerged from and interacted with political and economic changes in Colombia’s Pacific lowlands, or Chocó region, in the 1990s.
The Pacific region had yet to be overrun by drug traffickers, guerrillas, and paramilitary forces in the early 1990s. It was better known as the largest area of black culture in the country (90 percent of the region’s population is Afro-Colombian) and as a supplier of natural resources, including timber, gold, platinum, and silver. Colombia’s Law 70, passed in 1993, promised ethnic and cultural rights, collective land ownership, and socioeconomic development to Afro-Colombian communities. At the same time that various constituencies sought to interpret and implement Law 70, the state was moving ahead with large-scale development initiatives intended to modernize the economically backward coastal lowlands. Meanwhile national and international conservation organizations were attempting to protect the region’s rich biodiversity. Asher explores this juxtaposition of black rights, economic development, and conservation—and the tensions it catalyzed. She analyzes the meanings attached to “culture,” “nature,” and “development” by the Colombian state and Afro-Colombian social movements, including women’s groups. In so doing, she shows that the appropriation of development and conservation discourses by the social movements had a paradoxical effect. It legitimized the presence of state, development, and conservation agencies in the Pacific region even as it influenced those agencies’ visions and plans.
In Blood and Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia, Jasmin Hristov examines the complexities, dynamics, and contradictions of present-day armed conflict in Colombia. She conducts an in-depth inquiry into the restructuring of the state’s coercive apparatus and the phenomenon of paramilitarism by looking at its military, political, and legal dimensions. Hristov demonstrates how various interrelated forms of violence by state forces, paramilitary groups, and organized crime are instrumental to the process of capital accumulation by the local elite as well as the exercise of political power by foreign enterprises. She addresses, as well, issues of forced displacement, proletarianization of peasants, concentration of landownership, growth in urban and rural poverty, and human rights violations in relation to the use of legal means and extralegal armed force by local dominant groups and foreign companies.
Hristov documents the penetration of major state institutions by right-wing armed groups and the persistence of human rights violations against social movements and sectors of the low-income population. Blood and Capital raises crucial questions about the promised dismantling of paramilitarism in Colombia and the validity of the so-called demobilization of paramilitary groups, both of which have been widely considered by North American and some European governments as proof of Colombian president Álvaro Uribe’s advances in the wars on terror and drugs.
Between 1946 and 1966a surge of violence in Colombia left 200,000 dead in one of the worst conflicts the western hemisphere has ever experienced. the first seven years of this little-studied period of terror, known as la Violencia, is the subject of Blood and Fire. Scholars have traditionally assumed that partisan politics drove La Violencia, but Mary Roldán challenges earlier assessments by providing a nuanced account of the political and cultural motives behind the fratricide. Although the author acknowledges that partisan animosities played an important role in the disintegration of peaceful discourse into violence, she argues that conventional political conflicts were intensified by other concerns. Through an analysis of the evolution of violence in Antioquia, which at the time was the wealthiest and most economically diverse region of Colombia, Roldán demonstrates how tensions between regional politicians and the weak central state, diverse forms of social prejudice, and processes of economic development combined to make violence a preferred mode of political action. Privatization of state violence into paramilitary units and the emergence of armed resistance movements exacted a horrible cost on Colombian civic life, and these processes continue to plague the country. Roldan’s reading of the historical events suggests that Antioquia’s experience of la Violencia was the culmination of a brand of internal colonialism in which regional identity formation based on assumptions of cultural superiority was used to justify violence against racial or ethnic "others" and as a pretext to seize land and natural resources. Blood and Fire demonstrates that, far from being a peculiarity of the Colombians, la Violencia was a logical product of capitalist development and state formation in the modern world. This is the first study to analyze intersections of ethnicity, geography, and class to explore the genesis of Colombian violence, and it has implications for the study of repression in many other nations.
Bogotá: A Novel
Alan Grostephan Northwestern University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3607.R6744B64 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
In Bogotá, a taut, moving novel set in present-day Colombia, Wilfredo decides to uproot his family from their small town, where his ferry service on the river subjects him to the gruesome errands demanded by the local paramilitary. Moving in with relatives in a slum in Bogotá, the family tries desperately to achieve the smallest measure of comfort and hope in a world of almost total ruin, wracked by deprivation, fear, and ceaseless violence.
Alan Grostephan depicts with startling immediacy an urban landscape of extreme harshness and oppressive instability. The tension between the desperate conditions surrounding his characters and their efforts to hold on to their humanity gives Bogotá a ferocious energy. As Wilfredo and his family fight to stay alive and stay together, their plight emerges as equally enraging and uplifting, constituting a portrait of a society always on the verge of disintegration.
Building the capacity of Afghan special operations forces (SOF) is a key goal of the United States and its coalition partners. This report summarizes key partnering practices and presents findings from SOF partnership case studies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Colombia. The goal is to identify best practices to benefit the development of Afghan SOF, as well as for special operations partnerships beyond Afghanistan.
In A Century of Violence in a Red City Lesley Gill provides insights into broad trends of global capitalist development, class disenfranchisement and dispossession, and the decline of progressive politics. Gill traces the rise and fall of the strong labor unions, neighborhood organizations, and working class of Barrancabermeja, Colombia, from their origins in the 1920s to their effective activism for agrarian reforms, labor rights, and social programs in the 1960s and 1970s. Like much of Colombia, Barrancabermeja came to be dominated by alliances of right-wing politicians, drug traffickers, foreign corporations, and paramilitary groups. These alliances reshaped the geography of power and gave rise to a pernicious form of armed neoliberalism. Their violent incursion into Barrancabermeja's civil society beginning in the 1980s decimated the city's social networks, destabilized life for its residents, and destroyed its working-class organizations. As a result, community leaders are now left clinging to the toothless discourse of human rights, which cannot effectively challenge the status quo. In this stark book, Gill captures the grim reality and precarious future of Barrancabermeja and other places ravaged by neoliberalism and violence.
Charts the progress and failure of Colombian President Andrés Pastrana’s efforts to bring an end to sixty years of civil war.
The civil war in Colombia has waxed and waned for almost sixty years with shifting goals, programs, and tactics among the contending parties and with bursts of appalling violence 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 uncounted lives of (most often) peasants, conscript soldiers, and people who just got in the way.
Hope for resolution of this conflict is usually confined to dreamers and millenialists of various persuasions, but occasionally an attempt is made at a breakthrough in the military stalemate between the government and the Marxist groups. One of the most promising such attempts was made by new Colombian President Andrés Pastrana at a time when the main rebel groups seemed receptive to serious dialogue. This book is an account of that effort at peace, accompanied at the outset by domestic and international support and hope, and yet doomed like so many others to eventual failure.
Through interviews with many of the actors in this drama, as well as an understanding of the various interest groups and economic forces at work in Colombia, Dr. Kline charts the progress and ultimate failure of this effort, and thereby hopes to increase understanding of the causes of its lack of success. The importance of the resolution of the conflict to the region and to ordinary citizens of this troubled land cannot be
For two years, Clemencia Rodríguez did fieldwork in regions of Colombia where leftist guerillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the army, and drug traffickers made their presence felt in the lives of unarmed civilians. Here, Rodríguez tells the story of the ways in which people living in the shadow of these armed intruders use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet to shield their communities from armed violence’s negative impacts.
Citizens’ media are most effective, Rodríguez posits, when they understand communication as performance rather than simply as persuasion or the transmission of information. Grassroots media that are deeply embedded in the communities they serve and responsive to local needs strengthen the ability of community members to productively react to violent incursions. Rodríguez demonstrates how citizens’ media privilege aspects of community life not hijacked by violence, providing people with the tools and the platform to forge lives for themselves and their families that are not entirely colonized by armed conflict and its effects.
Ultimately, Rodríguez shows that unarmed civilian communities that have been cornered by armed conflict can use community media to repair torn social fabrics, reconstruct eroded bonds, reclaim public spaces, resolve conflict, and sow the seeds of peace and stability.
Civilization and violence are not necessarily the antagonists we presume-withcivilization taming violence, and violence unmaking civilization. Focusing on postindependence Colombia, this book brings to light the ways in which violenceand civilization actually intertwined and reinforced each other in the development of postcolonial capitalism.
The narratives of civilization and violence, Cristina Rojas contends, play key roles in the formation of racial, gender, and class identities; they also provide pivotal logic to both the formation of the nation and the processes of capitalist development. During the Liberal era of Colombian history (1849-1878), a dominant creole elite enforced a "will to civilization" that sought to create a new world in its own image. Rojas explores different arenas in which this pursuit meant the violent imposition of white, liberal, laissez-faire capitalism. Drawing on a wide range of social theory, Rojas develops a new way of understanding the relationship between violence and the formation of national identity-not just in the history of Colombia, but also in the broader narratives of civilization.
The appearance of Coffee and Conflict in Colombia, 1886-1910, had several important consequences for the entire field of Latin American history, as well as for the study of Colombia. Through Bergquist's analysis of this transitional period in terms of what has been called the dependency theory, he has left his mark on all subsequent studies in Latin American affairs; questions of economic development and political alignment cannot be dealt with without confronting Bergquist's work. he has also provided a major contribution to Colombian history by his examination of the growth of the coffee industry and Thousand Days War.
Containing over one hundred selections—most of them published in English for the first time—The Colombia Reader presents a rich and multilayered account of this complex nation from the colonial era to the present. The collection includes journalistic reports, songs, artwork, poetry, oral histories, government documents, and scholarship to illustrate the changing ways Colombians from all walks of life have made and understood their own history. Comprehensive in scope, it covers regional differences; religion, art, and culture; the urban/rural divide; patterns of racial, economic, and gender inequalities; the history of violence; and the transnational flows that have shaped the nation. The Colombia Reader expands readers' knowledge of Colombia beyond its reputation for violence, contrasting experiences of conflict with the stability and significance of cultural, intellectual, and economic life in this plural nation.
Contentious Republicans explores the mid-nineteenth-century rise of mass electoral democracy in the southwestern region of Colombia, a country many assume has never had a meaningful democracy of any sort. James E. Sanders describes a surprisingly rich republicanism characterized by legal rights and popular participation, and he explains how this vibrant political culture was created largely by competing subaltern groups seeking to claim their rights as citizens and their place in the political sphere. Moving beyond the many studies of nineteenth-century nation building that focus on one segment of society, Contentious Republicans examines the political activism of three distinct social and racial groups: Afro-Colombians, Indians, and white peasant migrants.
Beginning in the late 1840s, subaltern groups entered the political arena to forge alliances, both temporary and enduring, with the elite Liberal and Conservative Parties. In the process, each group formed its own political discourses and reframed republicanism to suit its distinct needs. These popular liberals and popular conservatives bargained for the parties’ support and deployed a broad repertoire of political actions, including voting, demonstrations, petitions, strikes, boycotts, and armed struggle. By the 1880s, though, many wealthy Colombians of both parties blamed popular political engagement for social disorder and economic failure, and they successfully restricted lower-class participation in politics. Sanders suggests that these reactionary developments contributed to the violence and unrest afflicting modern Colombia. Yet in illuminating the country’s legacy of participatory politics in the nineteenth century, he shows that the current situation is neither inevitable nor eternal.
Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change presents examples from Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia, examining what is necessary for smallholder agricultural cooperatives to support holistic community-based development in peasant communities. Reporting on successes and failures of these cooperative efforts, the contributors offer analyses and strategies for supporting collective grassroots interests. Illustrating how poverty and inequality affect rural people, they reveal how cooperative organizations can support grassroots development strategies while negotiating local contexts of inequality amid the broader context of international markets and global competition.
The contributors explain the key desirable goals from cooperative efforts among smallholder producers. They are to provide access to more secure livelihoods, expand control over basic resources and commodity chains, improve quality of life in rural areas, support community infrastructure, and offer social spaces wherein small farmers can engage politically in transforming their own communities.
The stories in Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change reveal immense opportunities and challenges. Although cooperatives have often been framed as alternatives to the global capitalist system, they are neither a panacea nor the hegemonic extension of neoliberal capitalism. Through one of the most thorough cross-country comparisons of cooperatives to date, this volume shows the unfiltered reality of cooperative development in highly stratified societies, with case studies selected specifically because they offer important lessons regarding struggles and strategies for adapting to a changing social, economic, and natural environment.
Brian J. Burke
Luis Alberto Cuéllar Gómez
Miguel Ricardo Dávila Ladrón de Guevara
Timothy J. Finan
Andrés González Aguilera
Sonia Carolina López Cerón
Joana Laura Marinho Nogueira
João Nicédio Alves Nogueira
María Isabel Ramírez Anaya
Rodrigo F. Rentería-Valencia
Lilliana Andrea Ruiz Marín
Cauca, located in southwestern Colombia and home to the largest indigenous population in the country, is renowned as a site of indigenous mobilization. In 1994, following a destructive earthquake, many families in Cauca were forced to leave their communities of origin and relocate to other areas within the province where the state provided them with land and housing. Noting that disasters offer communities the opportunity to remake themselves and their priorities, David D. Gow examines how three different communities established after the earthquake wrestled with conflicting visions of development. He shows how they each countered traditional notions of development by moving beyond a myopic obsession with poverty alleviation to demand that Colombia become more inclusive and treat all of its people as citizens with full rights and responsibilities.
Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted annually in Cauca from 1995 through 2002, Gow compares the development plans of the three communities, looking at both the planning processes and the plans themselves. In so doing, he demonstrates that there is no single indigenous approach to development and modernity. He describes differences in how each community defined and employed the concept of culture, how they connected a concern with culture to economic and political reconstruction, and how they sought to assert their own priorities while engaging with the existing development resources at their disposal. Ultimately, Gow argues that the moral vision advanced by the indigenous movement, combined with the growing importance attached to human rights, offers a fruitful way to think about development: less as a process of integration into a rigidly defined modernity than as a critical modernity based on a radical politics of inclusive citizenship.
According to legend, Cumbe ruled the Colombian community of Cumbal during the Spanish invasion. Although there is no documentation of Chief Cumbe's existence, today's Cumbales point to him as their ancestral link to Pasto ancestors. His image reappears often in popular music, theater, community organization, and militant politics as the Cumbales attempt to reinvigorate their indigenous heritage and reclaim the lands this heritage justifies.
Joanne Rappaport examines the Cumbales' reappropriation of history and the resulting reinvention of tradition. She explores the ways in which personal memories are interpreted in nonverbal expression, such as ritual and material culture, as well as in oral and written communication. This novel approach to historical consciousness is grounded on a unique combination of historical and ethnographical analysis.
Cumbe Reborn makes a significant contribution both to our understanding of ethnic militancy in the Americas and to the broader methodological discussion of non-western historical consciousness under colonial domination. It will attract a wide audience of anthropologists, historians, specialists in Andean ethnohistory and Latin American studies and literature, and folklore specialists interested in subaltern discourse.
Edited by Julie Rodrigues Widholm and Madeleine Grynsztejn University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress NB379.S25A4 2015 | Dewey Decimal 730.92
A mountain of chairs piled between buildings. Shoes sewn behind animal membranes into a wall. A massive crack running through the floor of Tate Modern. Powerful works like these by sculptor Doris Salcedo evoke the significance of bearing witness and processes of collective healing. Salcedo, who lives and works in Bogotá, roots her art in Colombia’s social and political landscape—including its long history of civil wars—with an elegance and poetic sensibility that balances the gravitas of her subjects. Her work is undergirded by intense fieldwork, including interviews with people who have suffered loss and endured trauma from political violence. In recent years, Salcedo has become increasingly interested in the universality of these experiences and has expanded her research to Turkey, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States.
Published to accompany Salcedo’s first retrospective exhibition and the American debut of her major work Plegaria muda, Doris Salcedo is the most comprehensive survey of her sculptures and installations to date. In addition to featuring new contributions by respected scholars and curators, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations highlighting many pieces from Salcedo’s thirty-year career. Offering fresh perspectives on a vital body of work, Doris Salcedo is a testament to the power of one of today’s most important international artists.
Before it became the center of Latin American drug trafficking, the Colombian city of Medellín was famous as a success story of industrialization, a place where protectionist tariffs had created a “capitalist paradise.” By the 1960s, the city’s textile industrialists were presenting themselves as the architects of a social stability that rested on Catholic piety and strict sexual norms. Dulcinea in the Factory explores the boundaries of this paternalistic order by investigating workers’ strategies of conformity and resistance and by tracing the disciplinary practices of managers during the period from the turn of the century to a massive reorganization of the mills in the late 1950s.
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear’s analyses of archived personnel records, internal factory correspondence, printed regulations, and company magazines are combined with illuminating interviews with retired workers to allow a detailed reconstruction of the world behind the mill gate. In a place where the distinction between virgins and nonvirgins organized the labor market for women, the distance between chaste and unchaste behavior underlay a moral code that shaped working women’s self-perceptions. Farnsworth-Alvear challenges the reader to understand gender not as an opposition between female and male but rather as a normative field, marked by “proper” and “improper” ways of being female or male. Disputing the idea that the shift in the mills’ workforce over several decades from mainly women to almost exclusively men was based solely on economic factors, the author shows how gender and class, as social practices, converged to shape industrial development itself.
Innovative in its creative employment of subtle and complex material, Dulcinea in the Factory addresses long-standing debates within labor history about proletarianization and work culture. This book’s focus on Colombia will make it valuable to Latin Americanists, but it will also appeal to a wide readership beyond Latin American and labor studies, including historians and sociologists, as well as students of women’s studies, social movements, and anthropology.
Fifty years of violence perpetrated by guerrillas, paramilitaries, and official armed forces in Colombia displaced more than six million people. In 2011, as part of a larger transitional justice process, the Colombian government approved a law that would restore land rights for those who lost their homes during the conflicts. However, this restitution process lacked appropriate provisions for rural women beyond granting them a formal property title.
Drawing on decades of research, Elusive Justice demonstrates how these women continue to face numerous adverse circumstances, including geographical isolation, encroaching capitalist enterprises, and a dearth of social and institutional support. Donny Meertens contends that women's advocacy organizations must have a prominent role in overseeing these transitional policies in order to create a more just society. By bringing together the underresearched topic of property repayment and the pursuit of gender justice in peacebuilding, these findings have broad significance elsewhere in the world.
Security and risk have become central to how cities are planned, built, governed, and inhabited in the twenty-first century. In Endangered City, Austin Zeiderman focuses on this new political imperative to govern the present in anticipation of future harm. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Bogotá, Colombia, he examines how state actors work to protect the lives of poor and vulnerable citizens from a range of threats, including environmental hazards and urban violence. By following both the governmental agencies charged with this mandate and the subjects governed by it, Endangered City reveals what happens when logics of endangerment shape the terrain of political engagement between citizens and the state. The self-built settlements of Bogotá’s urban periphery prove a critical site from which to examine the rising effect of security and risk on contemporary cities and urban life.
To understand almost any part of the tropical rain forest's fabulously complex web of life, one must first learn to identify a bewildering array of plants. Alwyn Gentry's landmark book, completed just before his tragic death in 1993, is the only field guide to the nearly 250 families of woody plants in the most species-rich region of South America.
As a consummate field researcher, Gentry designed this guide to be not just comprehensive, but also easy to use in rigorous field conditions. Unlike many field guides, which rely for their identifications on flowers and fruits that are only present during certain seasons, Gentry's book focuses on characters such as bark, leaves, and odor that are present year-round. His guide is filled with clear illustrations, step-by-step keys to identification, and a wealth of previously unpublished data.
All biologists, wildlife managers, conservationists, and government officials concerned with the tropical rain forests will need and use this field guide.
Alwyn Gentry was one of the world's foremost experts on the biology of tropical plants. He was senior curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and was a member of Conservation International's interdisciplinary Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) team, which inventories the biodiversity of the most threatened tropical areas. From 1967 to 1993 he collected more than 80,000 plant specimens, many of them new to science.
Fighting Monsters in the Abyss offers a deeply insightful analysis of the efforts by the second administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2006–2010) to resolve a decades-long Marxist insurgency in one of Latin America’s most important nations. Continuing work from his prior books about earlier Colombian presidents and yet written as a stand-alone study, Colombia expert Harvey F. Kline illuminates the surprising successes and setbacks in Uribe’s response to this existential threat.
In State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994, Kline documented and explained the limited successes of Presidents Virgilio Barco and César Gaviria in putting down the revolutionaries while also confronting challenges from drug dealers and paramilitary groups. The following president Andrés Pastrana then boldly changed course and attempted resolution through negotiations, an effort whose failure Kline examines in Chronicle of a Failure Foretold. In his third book, Showing Teeth to the Dragons, Kline shows how in his first term President Álvaro Uribe Vélez more successfully quelled the insurrection through a combination of negotiated demobilization of paramilitary groups and using US backing to mount more effective military campaigns.
Kline opens Fighting Monsters in the Abyss with a recap of Colombia’s complex political history, the development of Marxist rebels and paramilitary groups and their respective relationships to the narcotics trade, and the attempts of successive Colombian presidents to resolve the crisis. Kline next examines the ability of the Colombian government to reimpose rule in rebel-controlled territories as well as the challenges of administering justice. He recounts the difficulties in the enforcement of the landmark Law of Justice and Peace as well as two significant government scandals, that of the “false positives” (“falsos positivos”) in which innocent civilians were killed by the military to inflate the body counts of dead insurgents and a second scandal related to illegal wiretapping.
In tracing Uribe’s choices, strategies, successes, and failures, Kline also uses the example of Colombia to explore a dimension quite unique in the literature about state building: what happens when some members of a government resort to breaking rules or betraying their societies’ values in well-intentioned efforts to build a stronger state?
After decades of violence of all kinds, what remains are the stories. History is revised and debated, its protagonists bear witness, its writers ensure that all the suffering has not been in vain. These stories from Colombia contain pain and love, and sometimes even humor, allowing us to see an utterly vibrant and pulsating country amidst so much death and loss. We encounter townspeople overcome by fear, a man begging unsuccessfully for his life, an execution delayed for Christmas, the sounds and smells of burning coffee plantations, and other glimpses of daily life.
This anthology reflects some of Colombia’s finest literary talent, and most of these stories appear here for the first time in English translation. They reveal the contradictions and complexities of the human condition, yet they also offer hope for the future. In their bold revelations of the depths of despair, these writers provide gripping portrayals of humanity’s tenacious resistance to those very depths.
Best Books for Regional General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
Based on interviews with more than 100 participants, Van Cott demonstrates how social issues were placed on the constitutional reform agenda and transformed into the nation’s highest law. She follows each reform for five years to assess early results of what she calls an emerging model of multicultural constitutionalism.
During the early seventeenth century, Kisama emerged in West Central Africa (present-day Angola) as communities and an identity for those fleeing expanding states and the violence of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The fugitives mounted effective resistance to European colonialism despite—or because of—the absence of centralized authority or a common language. In Fugitive Modernities Jessica A. Krug offers a continent- and century-spanning narrative exploring Kisama's intellectual, political, and social histories. Those who became Kisama forged a transnational reputation for resistance, and by refusing to organize their society around warrior identities, they created viable social and political lives beyond the bounds of states and the ruthless market economy of slavery. Krug follows the idea of Kisama to the Americas, where fugitives in the New Kingdom of Grenada (present-day Colombia) and Brazil used it as a means of articulating politics in fugitive slave communities. By tracing the movement of African ideas, rather than African bodies, Krug models new methods for grappling with politics and the past, while showing how the history of Kisama and its legacy as a global symbol of resistance that has evaded state capture offers essential lessons for those working to build new and just societies.
In The Geographies of Social Movements Ulrich Oslender proposes a critical place perspective to examine the activism of black communities in the lowland rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast region. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in and around the town of Guapi, Oslender examines how the work of local community councils, which have organized around newly granted ethnic and land rights since the early 1990s, is anchored to space and place. Exploring how residents' social relationships are entangled with the region's rivers, streams, swamps, rain, and tides, Oslender argues that this "aquatic space"—his conceptualization of the mutually constitutive relationships between people and their rain forest environment—provides a local epistemology that has shaped the political process. Oslender demonstrates that social mobilization among Colombia's Pacific Coast black communities is best understood as emerging out of their place-based identity and environmental imaginaries. He argues that the critical place perspective proposed accounts more fully for the multiple, multiscalar, rooted, and networked experiences within social movements.
Brand warfare is real. Guerrilla Marketing details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.
Full of rich, unforgettable ethnographic stories, Guerrilla Marketing is a stunning and troubling analysis of the mediation of global conflict.
The first work in English to discuss the social and political history of lawyers in a Latin American country, Honorable Lives presents a portrait of lawyers in late colonial and early modern Colombia. Uribe-Uran focuses on the social origins, education, and careers of those qualified to practice law before the highest colonial courts—Audiencias—and the republican courts after the 1820s. In the course of his study, Uribe-Uran answers many questions about this elite group of professionals. What were the social origins and families of lawyers? Their relation to the state? Their participation in political movements and parties, revolutions, civil wars, and other political processes? Their ideas, education, and training? By exploring the lives of lawyers, Uribe-Uran is also able to present a general history of Latin America while examining the key social and political changes and continuities from 1780 to 1850—particularly the elites and state managers.
Honorable Lives features three genealogical charts detailing bureaucratic networks established by families of lawyers in different historical periods. The text also contains an abundant series of statistical tables and charts, and concise biographical information on approximately 150 Latin American lawyers. This book will appeal to Latin Americanists, students of law, and anyone interested in the lives and histories of lawyers.
Sometimes referred to as the first published manual of guerrilla warfare, Bernardo de Vargas Machuca’s Indian Militia and Description of the Indies is actually the first known manual of counterinsurgency, or anti-guerrilla warfare. Published in Madrid in 1599 by a Spanish-born soldier of fortune with long experience in the Americas, the book is a training manual for conquistadors. The Aztec and Inca Empires had long since fallen by 1599, but Vargas Machuca argued that many more Native American peoples remained to be conquered and converted to Roman Catholicism. What makes his often shrill and self-righteous treatise surprising is his consistent praise of indigenous resistance techniques and medicinal practices.
Containing advice on curing rattlesnake bites with amethysts and making saltpeter for gunpowder from concentrated human urine, The Indian Militia is a manual in four parts, the first of which outlines the ideal qualities of the militia commander. Addressing the organization and outfitting of conquest expeditions, Book Two includes extended discussions of arms and medicine. Book Three covers the proper behavior of soldiers, providing advice on marching through peaceful and bellicose territories, crossing rivers, bivouacking in foul weather, and carrying out night raids and ambushes. Book Four deals with peacemaking, town-founding, and the proper treatment of conquered peoples. Appended to these four sections is a brief geographical description of all of Spanish America, with special emphasis on the indigenous peoples of New Granada (roughly modern-day Colombia), followed by a short guide to the southern coasts and heavens. This first English-language edition of The Indian Militia includes an extensive introduction, a posthumous report on Vargas Machuca’s military service, and a selection from his unpublished attack on the writings of Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas.
The South American nation of Colombia has seen more than forty years of unrest, conflict, and civil war. It is a country in which social violence and warfare are intricately intertwined. Colombia is also notorious for its drug trade, being one of the leading producers of cocaine in the world, and for its central role as a staging ground for the U.S. “war on drugs.” Since 9/11 the Bush administration has sought to draw political links between the Colombian drug trade, guerrilla organizations, and terrorism.
Inside Colombia offers a valuable introduction and quick reference guide to this complex nation. With chapters devoted to history, human rights issues, the economy, drugs, the controversial antidrug intervention known as Plan Colombia, and relations with the United States, the book offers an easily accessible and comprehensive overview. Readers will learn about the major players in the conflicts, significant political figures, how Colombia’s economy has fared in the twentieth century, how the country’s geography influences its politics and economy, and how U.S. intervention shapes Colombia’s political scene.
Although only 2 percent of Colombia’s population identifies as indigenous, that figure belies the significance of the country’s indigenous movement. More than a quarter of the Colombian national territory belongs to indigenous groups, and 80 percent of the country’s mineral resources are located in native-owned lands. In this innovative ethnography, Joanne Rappaport draws on research she has conducted in Colombia over the past decade—and particularly on her collaborations with activists—to explore the country’s multifaceted indigenous movement, which, after almost 35 years, continues to press for rights to live as indigenous people in a pluralistic society that recognizes them as citizens. Focusing on the intellectuals involved in the movement, Rappaport traces the development of a distinctly indigenous modernity in Latin America—one that defies common stereotypes of separatism or a romantic return to the past. As she reveals, this emerging form of modernity is characterized by interethnic communication and the reframing of selectively appropriated Western research methodologies within indigenous philosophical frameworks.
Intercultural Utopias centers on southwestern Colombia’s Cauca region, a culturally and linguistically heterogeneous area well known for its history of indigenous mobilization and its pluralist approach to ethnic politics. Rappaport interweaves the stories of individuals with an analysis of the history of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca and other indigenous organizations. She presents insights into the movement and the intercultural relationships that characterize it from the varying perspectives of regional indigenous activists, nonindigenous urban intellectuals dedicated to the fight for indigenous rights, anthropologists, local teachers, shamans, and native politicians.
The Colombian activist Juan Gregorio Palechor (1923–1992) dedicated his life to championing indigenous rights in Cauca, a department in the southwest of Colombia, where he helped found the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca. Recounting his life story in collaboration with the Colombian anthropologist Myriam Jimeno, Palechor traces his political awakening, his experiences in national politics, the disillusionment that resulted, and his turn to a more radical activism aimed at confronting ethnic discrimination and fighting for indigenous territorial and political sovereignty.
Palechor's lively memoir is complemented by Jimeno's reflections on autobiography as an anthropological tool and on the oppressive social and political conditions faced by Colombia's indigenous peoples. A faithful and fluent transcription of Palechor's life story, this work is a uniquely valuable resource for understanding the contemporary indigenous rights movements in Colombia.
2019 Winner, Colombia Section, Michael Jiménez Prize, Latin American Studies Association
After emancipation in 1851, the African descendants living in the extra-humid rainforests of the Pacific coast of Colombia attained levels of autonomy hardly equaled anywhere else in the Americas. This autonomy rested on their access to a diverse environment—including small strips of fertile soils, mines, forests, rivers, and wetlands—that contributed to their subsistence and allowed them to procure gold, platinum, rubber, and vegetable ivory for export.
Afro-Colombian slave labor had produced the largest share of gold in the colony of New Granada. After the abolishment of slavery, some free people left the mining areas and settled elsewhere along the coast, making this the largest area of Latin America in which black people predominate into the present day. However, this economy and society, which lived off the extraction of natural resources, was presided over by a very small white commercial elite living in the region’s ports, where they sought to create an urban environment that would shelter them from the jungle.
Landscapes of Freedom reconstructs a nonplantation postemancipation trajectory that sheds light on how environmental conditions and management influenced the experience of freedom. It also points at the problematic associations between autonomy and marginality that have shaped the history of Afro-America. By focusing on racialized landscapes, Leal offers a nuanced and important approach to understanding the history of Latin America.
A modern nation in a state of total disorder, Colombia is an international flashpoint—wracked by more than half a century of civil war, political conflict, and drug-trade related violence—despite a multibillion dollar American commitment that makes it the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
Law in a Lawless Land offers a rare and penetrating insight into the nature of Colombia's present peril. In a nuanced account of the human consequences of a disintegrating state, anthropologist Michael Taussig chronicles two weeks in a small town in Colombia's Cauca Valley taken over by paramilitaries that brazenly assassinate adolescent gang members. Armed with automatic weapons and computer-generated lists of names and photographs, the paramilitaries have the tacit support of the police and even many of the desperate townspeople, who are seeking any solution to the crushing uncertainty of violence in their lives. Concentrating on everyday experience, Taussig forces readers to confront a kind of terror to which they have become numb and complacent.
"If you want to know what it is like to live in a country where the state has disintegrated, this moving book by an anthropologist well known for his writings on murderous Colombia will tell you."—Eric Hobsbawm
Lauchlin Currie’s contribution to monetary theory and policies during the New Deal and in the postwar period when he became one of the most important economic advisors to several presidents of Colombia is the subject of this biography. Currie was a major economic advisor to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and as his administrative assistant from 1939 until the president’s death in 1945 helped shape Roosevelt’s thinking on economic issues. His involvement in U.S. policymaking in China, where he directed Lend-Lease operations from 1941-1943, was one of the factors leading to his confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1949 he directed the first World Bank mission to Colombia. Roger Sandilands had access to Currie’s own papers and to previously unpublished material. In this biography he provides the reader with a critical evaluation of Currie’s contribution to the literature on the theory and practice of economic development in general, together with an analysis of how his concepts were shaped during the New Deal and in post-World War II Colombia.
Exploring globalization from a labor history perspective, Aviva Chomsky provides historically grounded analyses of migration, labor-management collaboration, and the mobility of capital. She illuminates the dynamics of these movements through case studies set mostly in New England and Colombia. Taken together, the case studies offer an intricate portrait of two regions, their industries and workers, and the myriad links between them over the long twentieth century, as well as a new way to conceptualize globalization as a long-term process.
Chomsky examines labor and management at two early-twentieth-century Massachusetts factories: one that transformed the global textile industry by exporting looms around the world, and another that was the site of a model program of labor-management collaboration in the 1920s. She follows the path of the textile industry from New England, first to the U.S. South, and then to Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Colombia. She considers how towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts began to import Colombian workers as they struggled to keep their remaining textile factories going. Most of the workers eventually landed in service jobs: cleaning houses, caring for elders, washing dishes.
Focusing on Colombia between the 1960s and the present, Chomsky looks at the Urabá banana export region, where violence against organized labor has been particularly acute, and, through a discussion of the AFL-CIO’s activities in Colombia, she explores the thorny question of U.S. union involvement in foreign policy. In the 1980s, two U.S. coal mining companies began to shift their operations to Colombia, where they opened two of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. Chomsky assesses how different groups, especially labor unions in both countries, were affected. Linked Labor Histories suggests that economic integration among regions often exacerbates regional inequalities rather than ameliorating them.
In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on a wide array of sources ranging from training manuals and oral histories to school and business archives, López-Pedreros shows how the Colombian middle class created a model of democracy based on free-market ideologies, private property rights, material inequality, and an emphasis on a masculine work culture. This model, which naturalized class and gender hierarchies, provided the groundwork for Colombia's later adoption of neoliberalism and inspired the emergence of alternate models of democracy and social hierarchies in the 1960s and 1970s that helped foment political radicalization. By highlighting the contested relationships between class, gender, economics, and politics, López-Pedreros theorizes democracy as a historically unstable practice that exacerbated multiple forms of domination, thereby prompting a rethinking of the formation of democracies throughout the Americas.
Colombia’s western Coffee Region is renowned for the whiteness of its inhabitants, who are often described as respectable pioneer families who domesticated a wild frontier and planted coffee on the forested slopes of the Andes. Some local inhabitants, however, tell a different tale—of white migrants rapaciously usurping the lands of indigenous and black communities. Muddied Waters examines both of these legends, showing how local communities, settlers, speculators, and politicians struggled over jurisdictional boundaries and the privatization of communal lands in the creation of the Coffee Region. Viewing the emergence of this region from the perspective of Riosucio, a multiracial town within it, Nancy P. Appelbaum reveals the contingent and contested nature of Colombia’s racialized regional identities.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Colombian elite intellectuals, Appelbaum contends, mapped race onto their mountainous topography by defining regions in racial terms. They privileged certain places and inhabitants as white and modern and denigrated others as racially inferior and backward. Inhabitants of Riosucio, however, elaborated local narratives about their mestizo and indigenous identities that contested the white mystique of the Coffee Region. Ongoing violent conflicts over land and politics, Appelbaum finds, continue to shape local debates over history and identity. Drawing on archival and published sources complemented by oral history, Muddied Waters vividly illustrates the relationship of mythmaking and racial inequality to regionalism and frontier colonization in postcolonial Latin America.
Long a favorite on dance floors in Latin America, the porro, cumbia, and vallenato styles that make up Colombia's música tropical are now enjoying international success. How did this music—which has its roots in a black, marginal region of the country—manage, from the 1940s onward, to become so popular in a nation that had prided itself on its white heritage? Peter Wade explores the history of música tropical, analyzing its rise in the context of the development of the broadcast media, rapid urbanization, and regional struggles for power. Using archival sources and oral histories, Wade shows how big band renditions of cumbia and porro in the 1940s and 1950s suggested both old traditions and new liberties, especially for women, speaking to a deeply rooted image of black music as sensuous. Recently, nostalgic, "whitened" versions of música tropical have gained popularity as part of government-sponsored multiculturalism.
Wade's fresh look at the way music transforms and is transformed by ideologies of race, nation, sexuality, tradition, and modernity is the first book-length study of Colombian popular music.
My Cocaine Museum
Michael Taussig University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress F2269.1.S24T28 2004 | Dewey Decimal 986.153
In this book, a make-believe cocaine museum becomes a vantage point from which to assess the lives of Afro-Colombian gold miners drawn into the dangerous world of cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast. Although modeled on the famous Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, the Banco de la República, Taussig's museum is also a parody aimed at the museum's failure to acknowledge the African slaves who mined the country's wealth for almost four hundred years.
Combining natural history with political history in a filmic, montage style, Taussig deploys the show-and-tell modality of a museum to engage with the inner life of heat, rain, stone, and swamp, no less than with the life of gold and cocaine.
This effort to find a poetry of words becoming things is brought to a head by the explosive qualities of those sublime fetishes of evil beauty, gold and cocaine. At its core, Taussig's museum is about the lure of forbidden things, charged substances that transgress moral codes, the distinctions we use to make sense of the world, and above all the conventional way we write stories.
In My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary, María Eugenia Vásquez Perdomo presents a gripping account of her experiences as a member of M-19, one of the most successful guerrilla movements in Colombia's tumultuous modern history. Vásquez's remarkable story opens with her happy childhood in a middle-class provincial household in which she was encouraged to be adventurous and inquisitive. As an eighteen-year-old university student in Bogotá, María Eugenia embraced radical politics and committed herself to militant action to rid her country of an abusive government. Dedicated and daring, Vásquez took part in some of the M-19's boldest operations in the 1970s and 1980s and became one of its leaders. She was able to avoid detection for nearly twenty years in the movement because she was both clever and considered too attractive to be a guerrillera. Her vivid narrative brings to life the men and women who were her comrades and conveys their anxiety and exhilaration as they carried out their actions. When she tells of her love affairs with some of M-19's top leaders, she cannot separate romance from camaraderie or escape a sense of impending tragedy. If Vásquez gave us only a rare insider's account of youth culture and a guerrilla movement in a Latin American country, this would be a book well worth reading. But she also gives us an unsparing analysis of what it meant to be a woman in the movement and how much her commitment to radical politics cost her.
My Mother’s Funeral
Adriana Páramo CavanKerry Press, 2013 Library of Congress F2279.22.P25A3 2013 | Dewey Decimal 986.136
My Mother’s Funeral circles around the death of the author’s mother, but what also emerges is a landscape of personal loss and pain, of innocence, humor, violence and beauty. Drawing heavily upon her childhood experiences and Colombian heritage, Páramo describes the volatile bond linking mothers and daughters in a culture largely unknown to Americans. The book moves between past (Colombia in the 1940s) and present lives, and maps scenes both geographical (Bogotá, Medellín, Anchorage) as well as psychological--ultimately revealing the indomitable spirit of the women in her family. Especially from Páramo’s mother the reader learns what it means to be a Colombian woman.
This book centers on a foundational moment for Latin American racial constructs. While most contemporary scholarship has focused the explanation for racial tolerance-or its lack-in the colonial period, Marixa Lasso argues that the key to understanding the origins of modern race relations are to be found later, in the Age of Revolution.
Lasso rejects the common assumption that subalterns were passive and alienated from Creole-led patriot movements, and instead demonstrates that during Colombia's revolution, free blacks and mulattos (pardos) actively joined and occasionally even led the cause to overthrow the Spanish colonial government. As part of their platform, patriots declared legal racial equality for all citizens, and promulgated an ideology of harmony and fraternity for Colombians of all colors. The fact that blacks were mentioned as equals in the discourse of the revolution and later served in republican government posts was a radical political departure. These factors were instrumental in constructing a powerful myth of racial equality-a myth that would fuel revolutionary activity throughout Latin America.
Thus emerged a historical paradox central to Latin American nation-building: the coexistence of the principle of racial equality with actual racism at the very inception of the republic. Ironically, the discourse of equality meant that grievances of racial discrimination were construed as unpatriotic and divisive acts-in its most extreme form, blacks were accused of preparing a race war. Lasso's work brings much-needed attention to the important role of the anticolonial struggles in shaping the nature of contemporary race relations and racial identities in Latin America.
Narrating Narcos presents a probing examination of the prominent role of narcotics trafficking in contemporary Latin American cultural production. In her study, Gabriela Polit Dueñas juxtaposes two infamous narco regions, Culiacán, Mexico, and Medellín, Colombia, to demonstrate the powerful forces of violence, corruption, and avarice and their influence over locally based cultural texts.
Polit Dueñas provides a theoretical basis for her methods, citing the work of Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, and other cultural analysts. She supplements this with extensive ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing artists and writers, their confidants, relatives, and others, and documents their responses to the portrayal of narco culture. Polit Dueñas offers close readings of the characters, language, and milieu of popular works of literature and the visual arts and relates their ethical and thematic undercurrents to real life experiences. In both regions, there are few individuals who have not been personally affected by the narcotics trade. Each region has witnessed corrupt state, police, and paramilitary actors in league with drug capos. Both have a legacy of murder.
Polit Dueñas documents how narco culture developed at different times historically in the two regions. In Mexico, drugs have been cultivated and trafficked for over a century, while in Colombia the cocaine trade is a relatively recent development. In Culiacán, characters in narco narratives are often modeled after the serrano (highlander), a romanticized historic figure and sometime thief who nobly defied a corrupt state and its laws. In Medellín, the oft-portrayed sicario (assassin) is a recent creation, an individual recruited by drug lords from poverty stricken shantytowns who would have little economic opportunity otherwise. As Polit Dueñas shows, each character occupies a different place in the psyche of the local populace.
Narrating Narcos offers a unique melding of archival and ground-level research combined with textual analysis. Here, the relationship of writer, subject, and audience becomes clearly evident, and our understanding of the cultural bonds of Latin American drug trafficking is greatly enhanced. As such, this book will be an important resource for students and scholars of Latin American literature, history, culture, and contemporary issues.
Doris Salcedo, a Colombian-born artist, addresses the politics of memory and forgetting in work that embraces fraught situations in dangerous places. Noted critic and theorist Mieke Bal narrates between the disciplines of contemporary culture in order to boldly reimagine the role of the visual arts. Both women are pathbreaking figures, globally renowned and widely respected. Doris Salcedo, meet Mieke Bal.
In Of What One Cannot Speak, Bal leads us into intimate encounters with Salcedo’s art, encouraging us to consider each work as a “theoretical object” that invites—and demands—certain kinds of considerations about history, death, erasure, and grief. Bal ranges widely through Salcedo’s work, from Salcedo’s Atrabiliarios series—in which the artist uses worn shoes to retrace los desaparecidos (“the disappeared”) from nations like Argentina, Chile, and Colombia—to Shibboleth, Salcedo’s once-in-a-lifetime commission by the Tate Modern, for which she created a rupture, as if by earthquake, that stretched the length of the museum hall’s concrete floor. In each instance, Salcedo’s installations speak for themselves, utilizing household items, human bones, and common domestic architecture to explore the silent spaces between violence, trauma, and identity. Yet Bal draws out even deeper responses to the work, questioning the nature of political art altogether and introducing concepts of metaphor, time, and space in order to contend with Salcedo’s powerful sculptures and installations.
An unforgettable fusion of art and essay, Of What One Cannot Speak takes us to the very core of events we are capable of remembering—yet still uncomfortably cannot speak aloud.
Michael Taussig University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress SB299.P3T38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 338.17385109861
“It is the contemporary elixir from which all manner of being emerges, the metamorphic sublime, an alchemist’s dream.” So begins Palma Africana, the latest attempt by anthropologist Michael Taussig to make sense of the contemporary moment. But to what elixir does he refer?
Palm oil. Saturating everything from potato chips to nail polish, palm oil has made its way into half of the packaged goods in our supermarkets. By 2020, world production will be double what it was in 2000. In Colombia, palm oil plantations are covering over one-time cornucopias of animal, bird, and plant life. Over time, they threaten indigenous livelihoods and give rise to abusive labor conditions and major human rights violations. The list of entwined horrors—climatic, biological, social—is long. But Taussig takes no comfort in our usual labels: “habitat loss,” “human rights abuses,” “climate change.” The shock of these words has passed; nowadays it is all a blur. Hence, Taussig’s keen attention to words and writing throughout this work. He takes cues from precursors’ ruminations: Roland Barthes’s suggestion that trees form an alphabet in which the palm tree is the loveliest; William Burroughs’s retort to critics that for him words are alive like animals and don’t like to be kept in pages—cut them and the words are let free.
Steeped in a lifetime of philosophical and ethnographic exploration, Palma Africana undercuts the banality of the destruction taking place all around us and offers a penetrating vision of the global condition. Richly illustrated and written with experimental verve, this book is Taussig’s Tristes Tropiques for the twenty-first century.
In The People and the King, John Leddy Phelan reexamines a well-known but long misunderstood event in eighteenth-century Colombia. When the Spanish colonial bureaucratic system of conciliation broke down, indigenous groups resorted to armed revolt to achieve their political ends.
As Phelan demonstrates in these pages, the crisis of 1781 represented a constitutional clash between imperial centralization and colonial decentralization. Phelan argues that the Comunero revolution was not, as it has often been portrayed, a precursor of political independence, nor was it a frustrated social upheaval. The Comunero leaders and their followers did not advocate any basic reordering of society, Phelan concludes, but rather made an appeal for revolutionary reform within a traditionalist framework.
Colombia’s headline story, about the peace process with guerrilla and its attendant controversies, does not consider the fundamental contradiction of a nation that spans generosity and violence, warmth and hatred—products of its particular pattern of invasion, dispossession, and enslavement. The Persistence of Violence fills that gap in understanding. Colombia is a place that is two countries in one—the ideal and the real—summed up in the idiomatic expression, not unique to Colombia, but particularly popular there, "Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa" (When you pass a law, you create a loophole). Less cynically, and more poetically, the Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez deemed Colombians capable of both the most noble acts and the most abject ones, in a world where it seems anyone might do anything, from the beautiful to the horrendous.The Persistence of Violence draws on those contradictions and paradoxes to look at how violence—and resistance to it—characterize Colombian popular culture, from football to soap opera to journalism to tourism to the environment.
For more than fifty years, the United States supported the Colombian military in a war that cost over 200,000 lives. During a single period of heightened U.S. assistance known as Plan Colombia, the Colombian military killed more than 5,000 civilians. In Plan Colombia John Lindsay-Poland narrates a 2005 massacre in the San José de Apartadó Peace Community and the subsequent investigation, official cover-up, and response from the international community. He examines how the multibillion-dollar U.S. military aid and official indifference contributed to the Colombian military's atrocities. Drawing on his human rights activism and interviews with military officers, community members, and human rights defenders, Lindsay-Poland describes grassroots initiatives in Colombia and the United States that resisted militarized policy and created alternatives to war. Although they had few resources, these initiatives offered models for constructing just and peaceful relationships between the United States and other nations. Yet, despite the civilian death toll and documented atrocities, Washington, DC, considered Plan Colombia's counterinsurgency campaign to be so successful that it became the dominant blueprint for U.S. military intervention around the world.
In The Politics of Taste Ana María Reyes examines the works of Colombian artist Beatriz González and Argentine-born art critic, Marta Traba, who championed González's art during Colombia's National Front coalition government (1958–74). During this critical period in Latin American art, artistic practice, art criticism, and institutional objectives came into strenuous yet productive tension. While González’s triumphant debut excited critics who wanted to cast Colombian art as modern, sophisticated, and universal, her turn to urban lowbrow culture proved deeply unsettling. Traba praised González's cursi (tacky) recycling aesthetic as daringly subversive and her strategic localism as resistant to U.S. cultural imperialism. Reyes reads González's and Traba's complex visual and textual production and their intertwined careers against Cold War modernization programs that were deeply embedded in the elite's fear of the masses and designed to avert Cuban-inspired revolution. In so doing, Reyes provides fresh insights into Colombia's social anxieties and frustrations while highlighting how interrogations of taste became vital expressions of the growing discontent with the Colombian state.
“Delpar provides a history of Colombia’s liberal party covering a period in which it was first the dominant party (1863-1885) and then the party of opposition (1886-1899). Delpar’s study is well written and firmly grounded in extensive research [and] will occupy a prominent position in the sparse historiography of the late 19th century Colombia.” – Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR)
“Delpar has given us a book that is disarmingly unpretentious yet offers considerably more than the title implies. As a discussion of the Liberal Party during the latter part of the 19th century, it is more narrative and descriptive than theoretical and analytical, indeed quite free of both redundant conceptualization and overly self-conscious methodology.
“It pays due attention to historical origins, regional distribution of support the characteristics of Liberal leadership, Liberal doctrine such as it was, the rules of the political game under the constitution of 1863, and the Liberal’s adjustment to opposition status after their fall from power in the 1880s. The author’s tone is clear and she has used an impressive quantity of published sources plus the personal papers of a good number of prominent Liberals.
Hartwig views the Columbian Ministry of Public Works, applying a theoretical model of rationality and responsibility to view how policy failures were caused by faulty definitions of problems and mistaken approaches in building Andean Highways from 1922-1974. This book will interest those involved in policy administration, organization theory, and policy planning in both developed and developing countries.
In republican Colombia, salt became an important source of revenue not just to individuals, but to the state, which levied taxes on it and in some cases controlled and profited from its production. The salt trade consistently accounted for roughly ten percent of government income.
In the town of la Salina de Chita, in Boyacá province, thermal springs offered vast amounts of salt, and its procurement and distribution was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance. Focusing his study on la Salina, Joshua M. Rosenthal presents a fascinating glimpse into the workings of the early Colombian state, its institutions, and their interactions with local citizens during this formative period. Although historians have cited the state’s weakness, and in many cases, its absence in local affairs, Rosenthal counters these assumptions by documenting the primary role the state held in administering contracts, inspections, land rights, labor, and trade in la Salina, and contends that this was not an isolated incident. He also uncovers the frequent interaction between the state and local residents, who used the state’s liberal rhetoric to gain personal economic advantage.
Seen through the lens of the administration of la Salina’s salt works, Rosenthal provides a firsthand account of the role of local institutions and fiscal management in the larger process of state building. His study offers new perspectives on the complex network of republican Colombia’s political culture, and its involvement in provincial life across the nation.
A significant work of neotropical archaeology presenting evidence of early hunter-gatherers who produced fiber-tempered ceramics.
Few topics in the development of humans have prompted as much interest and debate as those of the origins of pottery and agriculture. The first appearance of pottery in any area of the world is heralded as a new stage in the progress of humans toward a more complex arrangement of thought and society. Cultures are defined and separated by the occurrence of pottery types, and the association of pottery with mobility and agriculture continues to drive research in anthropology. For these reasons, the discovery of the earliest fiber-tempered pottery in the New World and carbonized remains identified as maize kernels is exciting.
San Jacinto 1 is the archaeological site located in the savanna region of the north coast of Colombia, South America, where excavations by led by the authors have revealed evidence of mobile hunter-gatherers who made pottery and who collected and processed plants from 6000 to 5000 B.P. The site is believed to show an early human adaptation to the tropics in the context of significant environmental changes that were taking place at the time.
This volume presents the data gathered and the interpretations made during excavation and analysis of the San Jacinto 1 site. By examining the social activities of a human population in a highly seasonal environment, it adds greatly to our contemporary understanding of the historical ecology of the tropics. Study of the artifacts excavated at the site allows a window into the early processes of food production in the New World. Finally, the data reveals that the origins of ceramic technology in the tropics were tied to a reduction in mobility and an increase in territoriality and are widely applicable to similar studies of sedentism and agriculture worldwide.
Working with the image of the Indian shaman as Wild Man, Taussig reveals not the magic of the shaman but that of the politicizing fictions creating the effect of the real.
"This extraordinary book . . . will encourage ever more critical and creative explorations."—Fernando Coronil, [I]American Journal of Sociology[/I]
"Taussig has brought a formidable collection of data from arcane literary, journalistic, and biographical sources to bear on . . . questions of evil, torture, and politically institutionalized hatred and terror. His intent is laudable, and much of the book is brilliant, both in its discovery of how particular people perpetrated evil and others interpreted it."—Stehen G. Bunker, Social Science Quarterly
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.
Human rights activism is often associated with international organizations that try to affect the behavior of abusive states around the globe. In Barrancabermeja, Colombia, argues Luis van Isschot in The Social Origin of Human Rights, the struggle for rights has emerged more organically and locally, out of a long history of civil and social organizing. He offers deep insight into the lives of home-grown activists in a conflict zone, against the backdrop of major historical changes that shaped Latin America in the twentieth century.
Built by Standard Oil in 1919, and home to the largest petroleum refinery in the country, Barrancabermeja has long been a critical battleground in Colombia’s armed conflict. One of the most militarized urban areas on earth, the city has been a regional base for the Colombian armed forces as well as for leftist guerrillas and a national paramilitary movement. In the midst of a dirty war in which the majority of victims were civilians, urban and rural social movements from Barrancabermeja and the surrounding area came together to establish a human rights movement. These frontline activists called upon the Colombian state to protect basic human rights and denounced the deeper socioeconomic inequalities they saw as sources of conflict. Through close study of the complex dynamics at work in Barrancabermeja, van Isschot shows how the efforts we describe as “human rights” activism derive in large part from these lived experiences of authoritarianism, war, poverty, and social exclusion. Through its social and historical approach, his analysis both complements and challenges the work of scholars who look at rights issues primarily through a legal lens.
“Over the years Colombian tax officials have received the benefit of first-class advice of leading foreign scholars. In return, these scholars—and indeed everyone concerned with development policy—have gained a great deal both from the unusual willingness of Colombians to consider new ideas in detail and then, after full public discussion, drawing on the work of these experts to design a ‘made-in-Colombia’ solution. “[The book’s] most important contribution, however, is undoubtedly with respect to consumption taxes. No one, anywhere, has thought through with such care just how the so-called ‘simplified alternative tax’ (essentially a direct personal consumption tax combined with a cash-flow corporate tax) might work in the real world. Since such taxes are increasingly being considered—if not adopted—all over the world, in developing and developed countries alike, for this reason alone this book should be high on the reading list of all those concerned with the design and implementation of efficient and equitable direct tax systems.”—From the Foreword by Richard M. Bird
In Territories of Difference, Arturo Escobar, author of the widely debated book Encountering Development, analyzes the politics of difference enacted by specific place-based ethnic and environmental movements in the context of neoliberal globalization. His analysis is based on his many years of engagement with a group of Afro-Colombian activists of Colombia’s Pacific rainforest region, the Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN). Escobar offers a detailed ethnographic account of PCN’s visions, strategies, and practices, and he chronicles and analyzes the movement’s struggles for autonomy, territory, justice, and cultural recognition. Yet he also does much more. Consistently emphasizing the value of local activist knowledge for both understanding and social action and drawing on multiple strands of critical scholarship, Escobar proposes new ways for scholars and activists to examine and apprehend the momentous, complex processes engulfing regions such as the Colombian Pacific today.
Escobar illuminates many interrelated dynamics, including the Colombian government’s policies of development and pluralism that created conditions for the emergence of black and indigenous social movements and those movements’ efforts to steer the region in particular directions. He examines attempts by capitalists to appropriate the rainforest and extract resources, by developers to set the region on the path of modernist progress, and by biologists and others to defend this incredibly rich biodiversity “hot-spot” from the most predatory activities of capitalists and developers. He also looks at the attempts of academics, activists, and intellectuals to understand all of these complicated processes. Territories of Difference is Escobar’s effort to think with Afro-Colombian intellectual-activists who aim to move beyond the limits of Eurocentric paradigms as they confront the ravages of neoliberal globalization and seek to defend their place-based cultures and territories.
Colombian-born Santiago Martinez starts his adult life as a young gay writer living in Spain. Years later, as a university professor in New York City, Santiago is called back to his native Colombia upon the suicide of his sister. There he learns some shocking secrets about his childhood and adolescence and comes to the realization that cherished memories of the past are only illusion.
In Colombia, decades of social and armed conflict and the US-led war on drugs have created a seemingly untenable situation for scientists and rural communities as they attempt to care for forests and grow non-illicit crops. In Vital Decomposition Kristina M. Lyons presents an ethnography of human-soil relations. She follows state soil scientists and peasants across labs, greenhouses, forests, and farms and attends to the struggles and collaborations between farmers, agrarian movements, state officials, and scientists over the meanings of peace, productivity, rural development, and sustainability in Colombia. In particular, Lyons examines the practices and philosophies of rural farmers who value the decomposing layers of leaves, which make the soils that sustain life in the Amazon, and shows how the study and stewardship of the soil point to alternative frameworks for living and dying. In outlining the life-making processes that compose and decompose into soil, Lyons theorizes how life can thrive in the face of the violence, criminalization, and poisoning produced by militarized, growth-oriented development.
When Colombia Bled
James David Henderson University of Alabama Press, 1985 Library of Congress F2278.H39 1985 | Dewey Decimal 986.10632
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This book focuses on the Colombian Violencia, the undeclared civil war between the Liberal and Conservative parties that raged from the late 1940s to early 1960s. It presents the information as a narrative history.
There is also an array of appendixes, maps, and photographs.