Violence and the State in Colombia
Colombia, the historian Malcolm Deas points out, has not always been a violent country.1 In the past, it has enjoyed periods of relative tranquillity, during which the levels of violence were lower than in many European and American countries, involved as they were in international, religious, colonial or revolutionary wars. As Colombia has increasingly become identified with violence, it is important to stress from the beginning what otherwise may seem obvious: that violence is not the national character of Colombians; hence the relevance of Deas’s observation. The history of the country, as of many other complex societies, is full of paradoxes. In the Latin American context, Colombia is unique in its traditions of prudent economic management and institutional stability. Nevertheless, for the outside world the country has gained international fame as the paradise of drug trafficking and the native land of some of the most notorious criminals of the twentieth century.
KeywordsDrug Trafficking Homicide Rate Political Violence Drug Trafficker Peace Agreement
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