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Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest, and Destabilization

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Every year the United States spends millions of dollars to help the war-ravaged country of Colombia. But help it with what? In Colombia and the U.S. Mario Murillo explores the misdirected and devastating impact that U.S. military "aid" continues to have on the war torn-people of Colombia. Beginning with a brief history of Colombia, Murillo analyzes the complex forces drivi Every year the United States spends millions of dollars to help the war-ravaged country of Colombia. But help it with what? In Colombia and the U.S. Mario Murillo explores the misdirected and devastating impact that U.S. military "aid" continues to have on the war torn-people of Colombia. Beginning with a brief history of Colombia, Murillo analyzes the complex forces driving Colombia's current decades-old guerilla war, U.S. involvement, media perceptions, and possible paths to peace. Whether it has been the U.S.-led war against "drug trafficking," the newly constituted "war against terrorism," or, as we have seen over the last two years, a convenient marriage of the two, the main effect has been to allow the U.S. to further expand its role in Colombia. The foundations of Colombia's social, political, and military conflict are rarely addressed by U.S. policy. Murillo describes Colombia's history of institutionalized corruption, state neglect, far-reaching poverty, and political violence and how they precede by decades the introduction and expansion of the drug trade. Colombia and the U.S. argues that the conflict in Colombia is not about drugs, nor guerrillas, nor "terrorism," but rather about the unwillingness of the country's elite to open up spaces for truly democratic participation in areas of economic and social development and political representation.


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Every year the United States spends millions of dollars to help the war-ravaged country of Colombia. But help it with what? In Colombia and the U.S. Mario Murillo explores the misdirected and devastating impact that U.S. military "aid" continues to have on the war torn-people of Colombia. Beginning with a brief history of Colombia, Murillo analyzes the complex forces drivi Every year the United States spends millions of dollars to help the war-ravaged country of Colombia. But help it with what? In Colombia and the U.S. Mario Murillo explores the misdirected and devastating impact that U.S. military "aid" continues to have on the war torn-people of Colombia. Beginning with a brief history of Colombia, Murillo analyzes the complex forces driving Colombia's current decades-old guerilla war, U.S. involvement, media perceptions, and possible paths to peace. Whether it has been the U.S.-led war against "drug trafficking," the newly constituted "war against terrorism," or, as we have seen over the last two years, a convenient marriage of the two, the main effect has been to allow the U.S. to further expand its role in Colombia. The foundations of Colombia's social, political, and military conflict are rarely addressed by U.S. policy. Murillo describes Colombia's history of institutionalized corruption, state neglect, far-reaching poverty, and political violence and how they precede by decades the introduction and expansion of the drug trade. Colombia and the U.S. argues that the conflict in Colombia is not about drugs, nor guerrillas, nor "terrorism," but rather about the unwillingness of the country's elite to open up spaces for truly democratic participation in areas of economic and social development and political representation.

30 review for Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest, and Destabilization

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I think Murillo misses a lot in this book, but I think his critique of media is worthwhile and critiques of paramilitaries in Colombia, supported by Colombia and the US vis-a-vis the Colombian government (at least in the early 2000s). Murillo could do a better job at talking about the supporters of the FARC and the supporters of the AUC and paramilitaries. Are all the rank-and-file economically motivated as he suggests? What is the race/class breakdown of these groups? I think Murillo does not do I think Murillo misses a lot in this book, but I think his critique of media is worthwhile and critiques of paramilitaries in Colombia, supported by Colombia and the US vis-a-vis the Colombian government (at least in the early 2000s). Murillo could do a better job at talking about the supporters of the FARC and the supporters of the AUC and paramilitaries. Are all the rank-and-file economically motivated as he suggests? What is the race/class breakdown of these groups? I think Murillo does not do a great job at examining this conflict along class/race/religious/economic lines, which is a critique of his of the US corporate media’s coverage of this conflict.

  2. 5 out of 5

    London

    A solid alternative-press take on Colombia's war on drugs. The authors sympathies lie with the insurgent groups and at times is insufficiently critical of the leftist/counter-government positions, but there's a lot of reportage here that's hard to get in English. Recommended if read along with other, more mainstream works.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Napoletano

    Murillo presents a convincing argument that Colombia is in the midst of a protracted civil war that has been prolonged by US intervention. He also reveals the absurdity of claims by US officials that counter-narcotics or counter-terrorism are significant motivations for this intervention. Oil and coffee appear to be much higher priorities, and Murillo's account discusses the ways in which US intervention is helping to "liberate" both from the control of indigenous communities and peasant farmers Murillo presents a convincing argument that Colombia is in the midst of a protracted civil war that has been prolonged by US intervention. He also reveals the absurdity of claims by US officials that counter-narcotics or counter-terrorism are significant motivations for this intervention. Oil and coffee appear to be much higher priorities, and Murillo's account discusses the ways in which US intervention is helping to "liberate" both from the control of indigenous communities and peasant farmers. His account also offers valuable insights into how the conflict between state and paramilitary forces and guerrillas plays out in Colombian society. As in the US, indigenous communities and advocates of a peaceful resolution to the violence are ignored by the mainstream media, although, in Colombia, they face the added pressure of death threats from the paramilitaries. Indigenous and peasant farmer communities are in a particularly difficult position, as attempts to remain neutral are frequently rejected by both sides of the conflict. Murillo's account of the conflict in Colombia should not be particularly surprising to those already familiar with the history of US intervention in Latin America. Nor is the key to its resolution particularly difficult to identify. Violence will continue to plague Colombian society as long as the state and its backers in the US continue to deny the people alternative avenues of dissent.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Clearly written for a college course in mind, this is a dense but short book containing a simplified history of the guerilla and civil wars in Colombia, as well as the role the US plays in the conflict. Murillo tries to be objective, but at the end he kind of gives up, and joins the side of the FARC, to an extent. The human rights atrocities committed in Colombia are worth knowing about, and the study of the news coverage in the US of Colombia is too short a section. I would have liked more anal Clearly written for a college course in mind, this is a dense but short book containing a simplified history of the guerilla and civil wars in Colombia, as well as the role the US plays in the conflict. Murillo tries to be objective, but at the end he kind of gives up, and joins the side of the FARC, to an extent. The human rights atrocities committed in Colombia are worth knowing about, and the study of the news coverage in the US of Colombia is too short a section. I would have liked more analysis of that.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James

    Good book about the political history of Columbia. It attempts to debunk popular misconceptions about Columbia. It is fairly good though some statistics are not sourced which was a little frustrating for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    My copy says it is by Mario A. Murillo with thanks to Avirama. This is a very good overview of the current situation with groups such as FARC and the US involvement in the nation and the dangerous effects it is having on the people.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Rand

    An interesting subject but this book isn't for the casual reader and that's what I am. It has gotten me interested enough to look out for other books on the topic, though. :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Logan Barrett

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mambosoulmusic

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bas Van Zomeren

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  13. 5 out of 5

    Drew

  14. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mo Rodriguez

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  18. 4 out of 5

    Uuu Ooo Bbb

  19. 4 out of 5

    Truck Dee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stevo

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  22. 5 out of 5

    Esauis

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fernando

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Brockbank

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hampatu

  28. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pablo Uribe

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paola Guerrero

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