Studies on terrorism have traditionally focused on non-state actors who direct violence against liberal states. These studies also tend to focus on political motivations and, therefore, have neglected the economic functions of terrorism. This article challenges the divorce of the political and economic spheres by highlighting how states can use terrorism to realise interconnected political and economic goals. To demonstrate this, we take the case of the paramilitary demobilisation process in Colombia and show how it relates to the US-Colombian free trade agreement. We argue that the demobilisation process fulfils a dual role. First, the process aims to improve the image of the Colombian government required to pass the controversial free trade agreement through US Congress to protect large amounts of US investment in the country. Second, the demobilisation process serves to mask clear continuities in paramilitary terror that serve mutually supportive political and economic functions for US investment in Colombia.
- Colombia free trade agreement
- paramilitary demobilisation
- Foreign direct investment
- state terrorism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations