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Colombia and the United States : War, Unrest, and Destabilization (Open Media Series) Paperback – September 2, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARIO ALFONSO MURILLO is a professor at the School of Communication at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and teaches media studies courses at New York University. A veteran radio journalist, he has reported extensively about Colombia and Latin America, producing award-winning programs and documentaries for the Pacifica Radio Network and National Public Radio. He is author of Islands of Resistance: Puerto Rico, Vieques, and U.S. Policy (2001). He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Series: Open Media Series
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583226060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226063
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,231,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Colombia is a complex nation and is often misunderstood, according to Professor Mario A. Murillo. Moreover, "the nature of Colombia's internal conflict has been completly distorted by the prism of drug-war politics," he adds in the opening chapter. To this end, the author provides hard-hitting facts to support his claim that United States aid to Colombia, "is very often used by the Colombian political and economic elite to promote its own agenda."
Murillo does not stop there...he exposes Colombia's feeble legal system. "In Colombia, the Constitution and its laws are often ignored and rarely enforced, either because of a lack of bureaucratic capacity on the part of the state to do so, or because of an absence of political will on the part of the ruling elite to execute those laws that are designed to protect the public," he reports.
The author has few kind words for President Alvaro Uribe. Murillo attacks the politically motivated violence "by the state and its paramilitary apparatus." He also is critical of the corruption of the traditional political parties, run predominantly by elites..."who compete for the spoils that serve as an incentive for cycles of generalized corruption."
The origins of the conflict, the myths behind Colombian democracy, the principal actors in today's conflict and the many views in the United States are studied in detail in this text. The analysis of the paramilitaries in Colombia is brilliant...particularly in respect to the millions of displaced people and the terrible treatment of Afro-Colombians.
Still and all, the best part of this book is the call for change. Murillo slams Alvaro Uribe's unconditional support for George W. Bush and worries that the impunity of the violent actors in Colombia will continue to fuel the civil war. In conclusion, the author clearly states that a pure military solution is impossible and that only true democratic reforms can stop the violence. Recommended.
Bert Ruiz
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Format: Paperback
With the presidential elections right around the corner, or as Mario Murillo, author of "Colombia and the United States (War, Unrest and Destabilization)" (Seven Stories Press), might put it: the elections right around the corner, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez is vying for Colombia's first-ever re-election. Rising quickly to the Nariño House in Bogotá on a promise to use military might to solve Colombia's ills, Uribe has ridden a wave of popularity he created from his "strong hand, big heart" slogan to his image of a hard-working man. He has even appeared in public in a poncho and campesino hat with a ranchero look strenthening his popularity.

For those unfamiliar with the Colombian conflict, Murillo's book serves as good starting point, showing how the conflict has been oversimplified in the media and why one should be wary of doing so. The historical context Murillo presents is surprisingly thorough for a 200-page book, banking on a wide variety of Colombian and American sources, including an author's interview with a high-level FARC leader.

Murillo's stellar Chapter 6, "Colombia in the News: Structural Damages in a Post 9-11 World", is reason enough to read this book. Murillo's unique research yields gripping data regarding not only how (or how little) the media covers the conflict in one of the countries receiving the most U.S.military aid, but the surging Orwellian doublespeak that appears in Colombian and U.S. media.

Despite the likelihood of another Uribe term, Murillo offers a refreshing voice calling for non-military/non-Uribe solutions to conflict in Colombia.
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This is a good book to get some review of events that have happened in Colombia. The author though writes with a clear bias and criticism of the path to a better Colombia. Almost 10 years later I think his perspective has turned out not to have been accurate.
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