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State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994, State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994, 0817309438, 0-8173-0943-8, 978-0-8173-0943-5, 9780817309435, , , State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994, 0817311483, 0-8173-1148-3, 978-0-8173-1148-3, 9780817311483,

State Building and Conflict Resolution in Colombia, 1986–1994
by Harvey F. Kline

Quality Paper
2001. 240 pp.
Price:  $24.95 s

Using previously unavailable information, Kline documents the efforts
of two recent Colombian presidents to reduce political violence and bring
more stable governance to their country.

During their presidencies, both Virgilio Barco Vargas (1986-90) and
Cesar Gaviria Trujillo (1990-94) sought to try to end the long-running
armed disturbance by leftist guerillas, narcotics traffickers, and paramilitary
groups who were controlling many parts of Colombia. Their attempts to use
peaceful means--including indirect bargaining, changes to the constitution
to increase democracy, and modifications in the judicial system to make
it more effective to suppress the country's lawbreaking elements--marked
a strategic break with the government's 150-year reliance on force.

Funded by the United States Institute of Peace, Harvey Kline traveled
to Colombia to collect data for this study. Kline researched printed sources
unavailable in the United States and interviewed numerous government officials,
politicians, and scholars to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of state
building through conflict resolution.

Kline concludes that Barco's and Gaviria's efforts at conflict resolution
were only partially successful and points to three major culprits: the
lack of a tradition of peaceful conflict resolution in the country; the
increased possibilities of conflict with urbanization and modernization;
and the vast amount of money brought to the country by the drug trade.
Finding no significant improvement in the lives of Colombians, Kline sounds
a note of pessimism for Colombia's future.

Harvey F. Kline is Professor of Political Science and Director
of the Latin American Studies Program at The University of Alabama.


"Kline has drawn on extensive research and on years of involvement with Colombia to produce a book that has both theoretical impact and historical importance. . . . The lessons of this excellent, deeply felt book apply not only to Colombia but to attempts at democratic state building everywhere."

1998 Choice Outstanding Academic Book, sponsored by Choice Magazine