As one of the countries in Latin America least studied by the American academy, Colombia presents a puzzle. The long-term internal war between the government and the armed forces, guerrilla organizations, and paramilitary armies ignited by the profitable and murderous drug business seems counterintuitive given the country's exemplary economic indexes and stable electoral system. James D. Henderson takes by the horns this “difficult subject of study” in Colombia's Narcotics Nightmare: How the Drug Trade Destroyed Peace (p. 188). First published in Spanish in 2012, the book synthesizes the relevant literature without incorporating archival sources or fieldwork. The main idea is that “the powerful external force of illegal drug money” made the Colombian state unable to enforce its law or defend its people (pp. 16–17). The seeds of the “narcotics nightmare” are in what Henderson calls “the iron triangle of violence”: an intractable...
Book Review|August 01 2017
Lina Britto; Colombia's Narcotics Nightmare: How the Drug Trade Destroyed Peace. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 2017; 97 (3): 570–572. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-3934192
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