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Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror reviewed in Z Magazine

Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror

Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror:

U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia

By Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle

New York, Monthly Review, January 2012, 208 pp.

Review by Seth Sandronsky

Why write a book about class, cocaine, Colombia and the U.S.? Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle have an answer. In Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia they provide data and evidence to refute Uncle Sam’s official version of relations between both nations today and yesterday.

To this end, the authors present a strong counter-narrative that begins with cocoa plants and continues with the capitalist production and distribution of cocaine. The Cold War looms large, but Villar and Cottle don’t stop there. They explain how and why the U.S.-led war on the Third World—under the rhetoric of fighting communist insurgents—is now knee-deep in a cocoa-plant growing region in Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Villar and Cottle call this place the Crystal Triangle.

The authors provide evidence of Uncle Sam’s anti-communist crusade (now the war on terror) in concert with illegal drug trafficking. Past sites of such operations include pre-revolutionary China and Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, with the track record of American armed forces and mercenaries and their drug-industry allies.

This is a class war, thus, the basic motive is simple. The U.S. intervenes for the interest of an investment class that opposes nationalist governments under popular control. In the authors’ words, such a foreign policy is “the consequence of efforts by the United States to enhance its political and economic position in the world economy.”

The U.S. expands its reach to the Golden Crescent of Afghanistan and then to the Crystal Triangle of Colombia. There, the main enemy of the U.S. and Colombian elites becomes the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

In an introduction, ten chapters, bibliography, notes and an index, we learn much more about this Latin American nation and region. The authors lay bare the factors and forces that spawned Colombia’s “narco-state” and “narco-economy” as U.S. consumption of cocaine skyrocketed. Working people in both nations suffer as the post-9/11 war on terror expands with no apparent end…

Read the entire review in Z Magazine

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