Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia

By Steven Dudley | Go to book overview

PREFACE

I began writing this book when I realized that I had to leave Colombia. This is not a book that will sit well with anyone actively involved in that country's four-decade-old civil war. Any one of them might want to kill me for writing this story. I wish I were exaggerating. But I know from talking to them personally that none of them wants this story to be told in its entirety. Each draws different conclusions from the same results. Each seeks to use the story to justify their ongoing wars against one another. Each hates when people contradict them. This is why I had to leave Colombia before this book was published, and this is why I may have a hard time returning while the war continues.

This book is the result of years of research and soul-searching, investigation and self-examination. I didn't write these words or come to these conclusions easily. The story is painful to tell. I wish Colombia were more black and white. I wish there were clear-cut good guys and clear-cut bad guys. But Colombia isn't a story of good guys and bad guys. Colombia is much more than that, which is why it's difficult to ignore. It's raw: humans at their best and worst.

I first went to Colombia as a human rights observer in 1995. I worked with Peace Brigades International. Peace Brigades International is made up of volunteers who accompany the politically persecuted and document the human rights situation. While I was with Peace Brigades, I began to meet the people who would form the core of this story. Human rights are a dangerous endeavor, in part because they are enveloped by politics. More than ever, human rights are playing a critical role in determining relationships between citizens and nations. In some parts of the world, working in human rights is noble. In Colombia working in human rights has come to be associated with supporting the rebels. This is not unfounded, but the broad generalizations

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Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Prologue - The Martyrs 1
  • Part One 15
  • Chapter 1 - Fighting History 17
  • Chapter 2 - The Desert Fox 31
  • Chapter 3 - The Master Plan 45
  • Chapter 4 - Guerrilla Politics 57
  • Chapter 5 - Black Vladimir 65
  • Chapter 6 - Too Much Tic 77
  • Part Two 89
  • Chapter 7 - The "Disposable Ones" 91
  • Chapter 8 - A Moral Victory 105
  • Chapter 9 - The Return of Black Vladimir 117
  • Chapter 10 - The Perestroikas 127
  • Chapter 11 - The House of Castaño 141
  • Chapter 12 - The Suizo 153
  • Part Three 167
  • Chapter 13 - Farc-Landia 169
  • Chapter 14 - Justice as a Memory 181
  • Chapter 15 - The Great Escape 195
  • Chapter 16 - Shades of Jaime 209
  • Chapter 17 - Leftovers 221
  • Index 243
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