In Blood and Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia, Jasmin Hristov examines the complexities, dynamics, and contradictions of present-day armed conflict in Colombia. She conducts an in-depth inquiry into the restructuring of the state's coercive apparatus and the phenomenon of paramilitarism by looking at its military, political, and legal dimensions. Hristov demonstrates how various interrelated forms of violence by state forces, paramilitary groups, and organized crime are instrumental to the process of capital accumulation by the local elite as well as the exercise of political power by foreign enterprises. She addresses, as well, issues of forced displacement, proletarianization of peasants, concentration of landownership, growth in urban and rural poverty, and human rights violations in relation to the use of legal means and extralegal armed force by local dominant groups and foreign companies.
Hristov documents the penetration of major state institutions by
right-wing armed groups and the persistence of human rights
violations against social movements and sectors of the low-income
population. Blood and Capital raises crucial questions
about the promised dismantling of paramilitarism in Colombia and
the validity of the so-called demobilization of paramilitary
groups, both of which have been widely considered by North American
and some European governments as proof of Colombian president
Alvaro Uribe's advances in the wars on terror and drugs.
"Hristov's rich description of the Colombian conflict with
information based on the author's fieldwork presents a valuable
addition to the literature and presents an analysis that has become
rare in the age of neoliberal ideological hegemony."
"This is a well-researched resource examining paramilitary-state repression and the underlying political and economic conditions in Colombia that drive it."
"By making explicit the connections between neoliberal policies and paramilitarism, and the use of violence as a means of resource acquisition and the facilitation of a climate for its continuation, Hristov powerfully refutes attempts to oversimplify the conflict in Colombia and its justification as part of the 'war on terror.'"
"The description of Colombia that Hristov provides is expressed in an almost 'structural-functional' account of the way in which neoliberalism and paramilitarism are mutually supportive, how large numbers of marginalized and disadvantaged people are dispossessed and forcibly removed from their subsistance economies, where they are replaced by the exploitation of Colombia's ample natural resources by dominantly foreign capital ably abetted by cunning comprador elites."
"Hopefully Blood & Capital will receive the attention that it deserves, and Hristov's meticulous research can be used to truly disarm the state coercive apparatus in Colombia."
"The connections between the paramilitary and members of the government, the judiciary and armed forces in fact have been well documented, but (Jasmin Hristov) adds to this documentation a very sharp class analysis of the political dynamics involved."