Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Colombia and the United States

War, Unrest and Destabilization

by Mario Murillo

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Every year the United States spends millions of dollars to help the war-ravaged country of Colombia. But help it with what? In Colombia and the United States, Mario Murillo explores the misdirected and devastating impact that US military "aid" continues to have on the war-torn people of Colombia. Beginning with a brief history of Colombia, Murillo analyzes the complex forces driving Colombia's current decades-old guerilla war, U.S. involvement, media perceptions, and possible paths to peace. Whether it has been the US-led war against "drug trafficking," the newly constituted "war against terrorism," or, as we have seen over the last two years, a convenient marriage of the two, the main effect has been to allow the US to further expand its role in Colombia. The foundations of Colombia's social, political, and military conflict are rarely addressed by US policy. Murillo describes Colombia's history of institutionalized corruption, state neglect, far-reaching poverty, and political violence and how they precede by decades the introduction and expansion of the drug trade.

Colombia and the United States argues that the conflict in Colombia is not about drugs, nor guerrillas, nor "terrorism," but rather about the unwillingness of the country's elite to open up spaces for truly democratic participation in areas of economic and social development and political representation.

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“For U.S. readers accustomed to the distorted and incomplete imagery projected by the American mainstream media about Colombia, this book will be a revelation. Murillo's first hand experience and extensive research give us an insightful analysis of the complex and tragic Colombian reality—of social and economic inequalities that grow amidst and armed conflict that has lasted more than forty years; of government policies confronting this reality; of the impact of U.S. policies in Colombian internal affairs; of the growing of U.S. military presence in the country. For the Colombian reader, ignorant of the dangers of the policies of national security and antiterrorism, promoted by Presidents Alvaro Uribe and George W. Bush, this book will also be enlightening.”

“Murillo's work gives voice to those who are rarely heard from when explaining the complexities of Colombia-US relations. Through his years of research and interviews, Murillo allows us to learn about the conflict through the eyes of indigenous Colombians, trade union leaders, afro-Colombians, farmers and others, all of whom—those most affected by the 50-year civil war—layer this book with rich narratives.”

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Mario Alfonso Murillo is Professor and Chair of the Radio, Television, and Film department in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. A veteran radio journalist, he has reported and produced award-winning programs and documentaries for a number of broadcast outlets, including WBAI, the Pacifica Radio Network, and National Public Radio. Murillo lives in Brooklyn, NY.