The Terror that Underpins the “Peace”: The Political Economy of Colombia's Paramilitary Demobilization Process

David Maher, Andrew Thomson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-113
    Number of pages18
    JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
    Volume4
    Issue number1
    Early online date08 Apr 2011
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • Colombia free trade agreement
    • paramilitary demobilisation
    • Foreign direct investment
    • state terrorism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations

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