Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá
This chapter discusses a pair of events that continue to influence the politics of life and death in Colombia: the siege of the Palace of Justice in Bogotá by M-19 guerrillas and the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano that triggered a mudslide that buried the town of Armero. Centering on the convergence of these two catastrophes in November 1985, this chapter traces the way they have been constituted as “events” in the ensuing twenty-five years. Public and political debates discussed this tragic coincidence as an “apocalypse foretold” (apocalipsis anunciado) and demanded that the state be held responsible for foreseeing future dangers and protecting life from potential harm. Representations of the victims and of the events themselves continue to reinforce the constitutive relationship between political authority and foresight in Colombia, which underpins the emergence of risk as a technique for governing cities and urban life.