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Death Squads or Self-Defense Forces?How Paramilitary Groups Emerge and Challenge Democracy in Latin America$
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Julie Mazzei

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833063

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898611_mazzei

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Colombia's paramilitary Triad

Colombia's paramilitary Triad

(p.99) 4 Colombia's paramilitary Triad
Death Squads or Self-Defense Forces?

Julie Mazzei

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that as Colombia's paramilitaries became more organized and centralized, their objectives were made increasingly clear to the Colombian people. Initially, the paramilitary groups communicated their interests and demands primarily through their attacks. In 2000, the AUC member organization the Calima Front began a major para offensive through Valle and Cauca departments. In a formal letter announcing their plans, the AUC warned “local mayors and ߪ the governor” that “any citizen or civil authority who gives any type of assistance to subversives after our arrival in the department of Cauca will be declared a military target.” Beyond the circles of guerrillas and their support network and sympathizers, Colombian paramilitaries used threats and attacks to discourage and frustrate attempts at organizing even unarmed civil society groups whose agendas ran counter to the paramilitary agenda.

Keywords:   Colombia's paramilitaries, paramilitary groups, AUC, Calima Front, military target

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