Shadows of State Terrorism: Impunity in Latin America, Vol. 26: 4, 1999



J. Patrice McSherry and Raúl Molina Mejía, eds.

On the cusp of the 21st century, the long shadows of state terrorism still haunt Latin America. For millions of people in the region, the memory of predator states that turned on their own citizens persists; for some, as in Colombia today, political violence and state terrorism remain a reality. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in Cold War-era dirty wars–200,000 in Guatemala alone–and tens of thousands more suffered barbaric tortures, disappearance, and other forms of state terror. Yet most of the architects and agents of these crimes walk free today; many remain in positions of power. State terrorism and impunity are integrally linked. Impunity means freedom from accountability or punishment for state crimes or abuses of power. Without impunity would begin to lose their capacity to shape behavior; its organizational structures and tactics would become vulnerable. Impunity is a cornerstone of the state’s coercive machinery. Even after transitions from military rule, agents or organizations of the state’s repressive apparatus, armored by impunity, can limit democratic dissent and political opposition by maintaining a frightening presence in state and society. Impunity is key for the maintenance of political and social control by the powerful. This issue of Social Justice assembles the reflections and analyses of distinguished Latin Americans who lived through recent military dictatorships and who have grappled with their consequences. By listening to their voices, readers will understand state terrorism and impunity in new ways.

Purchase articles (click on the author link to read the abstract and buy the pdf):

J. Patrice McSherry and Raúl Molina Mejía, Introduction to ‘Shadows of State Terrorism: Impunity in Latin America’

Paz Rojas B., Impunity and the Inner History of Life

Javier Giraldo, S.J., Corrupted Justice and the Schizophrenic State in Colombia

Raúl Molina Mejía, The Struggle Against Impunity in Guatemala

Juan E. Méndez and Javier Mariezcurrena, Accountability for Past Human Rights Violations: Contributions of the Inter-American Organs of Protection

Alejandro Teitelbaum, Statute of the International Criminal Court: A Critique

Helen Duffy, Toward Eradicating Impunity: The Establishment of an International Criminal Court

United Nations, Excerpts from Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [Free Download]

J. Patrice McSherry, Operation Condor: Clandestine Inter-American System

Kimberly F. Jones, Review of Martha K. Huggins, Political Policing: The United States and Latin America

Charlene Floyd, Review of Neil Harvey, The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Liberty

J. Patrice McSherry, Photo Essay

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