The Demobilization Process of Paramilitaries in Colombia: Between Politics and Justice
El proceso de desmovilización de los paramilitares en Colombia: entre lo político y lo judicial*;
O processo de desmobilização dos paramilitares na Colômbia: Entre o político e o judicial
The phenomenon of paramilitarism in Colombia has received an ambiguous treatment, balancing between political and criminal issues; an oscillation that has been intimately linked to the evolution of the Colombian internal conflict. This contribution analyzes the recent negotiations held with paramilitary groups by the administration of Alvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010). After a brief account of the dependency path that has determined this historical episode, I propose an assessment of the use of judicial categories by the various actors of the negotiations. The main argument is that those categories –war criminal, political criminal, drug smuggler, etc.– do not depend on the intrinsic nature of an armed actor, but are socially constructed by a conflictive process of material and symbolic struggles. The capacity to categorize private violence, as legitimate or illegitimate, political or criminal, appears as one of the basic manifestations of the state’s action, as well as one of the main conflicts presiding at the rocess of state formation.
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