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Fighting Monsters in the Abyss, Fighting Monsters in the Abyss, 0817318801, 0-8173-1880-1, 978-0-8173-1880-2, 9780817318802, , , Fighting Monsters in the Abyss, 0817388842, 0-8173-8884-2, 978-0-8173-8884-3, 9780817388843,

Fighting Monsters in the Abyss
The Second Administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, 2006–2010
by Harvey F. Kline

Trade Cloth
2015. 272 pp.
1 map / 9 tables
978-0-8173-1880-2
Price:  $54.95 s
E Book
2015. 272 pp.
1 map / 9 tables
978-0-8173-8884-3
Price:  $54.95 d

Fighting Monsters in the Abyss offers a deeply insightful analysis of the efforts by the second administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2006–2010) to resolve a decades-long Marxist insurgency in one of Latin America’s most important nations. Continuing work from his prior books about earlier Colombian presidents and yet written as a stand-alone study, Colombia expert Harvey F. Kline illuminates the surprising successes and setbacks in Uribe’s response to this existential threat.
 
In State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994, Kline documented and explained the limited successes of Presidents Virgilio Barco and César Gaviria in putting down the revolutionaries while also confronting challenges from drug dealers and paramilitary groups. The following president Andrés Pastrana then boldly changed course and attempted resolution through negotiations, an effort whose failure Kline examines in Chronicle of a Failure Foretold. In his third book, Showing Teeth to the Dragons, Kline shows how in his first term President Álvaro Uribe Vélez more successfully quelled the insurrection through a combination of negotiated demobilization of paramilitary groups and using US backing to mount more effective military campaigns.
 
Kline opens Fighting Monsters in the Abyss with a recap of Colombia’s complex political history, the development of Marxist rebels and paramilitary groups and their respective relationships to the narcotics trade, and the attempts of successive Colombian presidents to resolve the crisis. Kline next examines the ability of the Colombian government to reimpose rule in rebel-controlled territories as well as the challenges of administering justice. He recounts the difficulties in the enforcement of the landmark Law of Justice and Peace as well as two significant government scandals, that of the “false positives” (“falsos positivos”) in which innocent civilians were killed by the military to inflate the body counts of dead insurgents and a second scandal related to illegal wiretapping.
 
In tracing Uribe’s choices, strategies, successes, and failures, Kline also uses the example of Colombia to explore a dimension quite unique in the literature about state building: what happens when some members of a government resort to breaking rules or betraying their societies’ values in well-intentioned efforts to build a stronger state?

Harvey F. Kline is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alabama. He is the author of State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994; Chronicle of a Failure Foretold: The Peace Process of Colombian President Andrés Pastrana; and Showing Teeth to the Dragons: State-Building by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, 2002–2006.

Fighting Monsters in the Abyss makes an original and significant contribution to the field of Latin American politics. Kline’s research is impressive. Building on his august wealth of knowledge of Colombia, this study offers new data and insights."
—Cynthia McClintock, author of Revolutionary Movements in Latin America: El Salvador’s FMLN and Peru’s Shining Path and coauthor of The United States and Peru: Cooperation—At a Cost

Álvaro Uribe’s second term was a time of notable improvements in security. It was also a time of mounting scandals that shook Colombia's institutions, and of paralyzing discord between the executive and judicial branches. Understanding this period is essential to understanding the hopeful yet deeply polarized political moment Colombia is experiencing today. Fighting Monsters in the Abyss captures the complexity of the 2006 to 2010 period in a way that Álvaro Uribe's many detractors and hero-worshippers rarely do. Harvey Kline’s painstaking research allows him to arrive at honest, balanced conclusions, which make this an important book.”
—Adam Isacson, author of Just the Facts: A Civilian’s Guide to US Defense and Security Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean

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