Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia

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NYU Press, 2011 - 272 pages
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Since the late 1990s, the United States has funneled billions of dollars
in aid to Colombia, ostensibly to combat the illicit drug trade
and State Department-designated terrorist groups. The result has
been a spiral of violence that continues to take lives and destabilize
Colombian society. This book asks an obvious question: are the official
reasons given for the wars on drugs and terror in Colombia
plausible, or are there other, deeper factors at work?

Scholars Villar and Cottle suggest that the answers lie in a close
examination of the cocaine trade, particularly its class dimensions.
Their analysis reveals that this trade has fueled extensive economic
growth and led to the development of a “narco-state” under the
control of a “narco-bourgeoisie” which is not interested in eradicating
cocaine but in gaining a monopoly over its production. The
principal target of this effort is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), who challenge that monopoly as well as the very
existence of the Colombian state. Meanwhile, U.S. business interests
likewise gain from the cocaine trade and seek to maintain a dominant,
imperialist relationship with their most important client state
in Latin America. Suffering the brutal consequences, as always, are
the peasants and workers of Colombia. This revelatory book punctures
the official propaganda and shows the class war underpinning
the politics of the Colombian cocaine trade.


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