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“Christopher Welna and Gustavo Gallón have assembled a first-rate group of authors to produce an unusually comprehensive analysis of Colombia's profound and complex problems. The chapters are cogently argued, packed with keen insight, and often buttressed by rich empirical data. They cover the gamut—from culture to drugs to political economy,...
“Christopher Welna and Gustavo Gallón have assembled a first-rate group of authors to produce an unusually comprehensive analysis of Colombia's profound and complex problems. The chapters are cogently argued, packed with keen insight, and often buttressed by rich empirical data. They cover the gamut—from culture to drugs to political economy, institutional reform, and U.S. policy. It is impossible to come away from reading this superb volume without understanding that, whatever progress has been made in Colombia in recent years, the task of constructing an enduring peace and just society remains a formidable one.” —Michael Shifter, Vice President for Policy, Inter-American Dialogue"This excellent volume provides not only an introduction to the difficult issues of peace, democracy, and human rights in Colombia; it also offers a series of very intelligent and provocative discussions of these issues. The authors make use of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources that will be of interest to scholars, policymakers, and the growing number of general readers interested in the direction of U.S. foreign policy." —John C. Dugas, Kalamazoo College “Welna and Gallón have admirably met the challenge put to them by the Rev.Theodore M. Hesburgh, who asked, ‘What can a university in the United States do to help resolve Colombia's conflict?’ Bringing together clear-eyed analyses by the foremost Colombian and American scholars, they shed much-needed light on the root causes of the longest-running guerrilla war in this hemisphere. They provide a critical path to understanding Colombia's core political challenges, and in so doing they lay the groundwork for an eventual resolution to Latin America's costliest struggle for democracy.” —Anthony DePalma, New York Times Colombia is home to the longest-running guerilla war in this hemisphere, a war that has evolved into a multisided conflict. Over forty years ago guerrilla leaders launched their campaign to overthrow the government in the wave of Latin American revolutionary movements. While such movements in other countries from that era have negotiated settlements or suffered defeat, in Colombia two major guerrilla groups soldier on, at times in competition with each other. In the intervening years, these groups have been joined by new antagonists who sometimes strike alliances, though rivalry generally prevails. Drug traffickers, right-wing paramilitary squads, government police units, Colombia's armed forces, and U.S. advisors, among others, have all joined the fray.For scholars, this timely collection provides a theoretical understanding of human rights violations, corruption, political fragmentation, and reform. Policy makers will find careful analyses and debate about policy outcomes and alternatives, as well as recommendations for action to protect rights, strengthen democracy, and pursue peace. Students will find a route to understanding the history and dynamics of Colombia's contemporary challenges of human rights, democracy, and peace.
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