This volume explores recent evidence of how partial state failure in Latin America interacts with new forms of organized violence, undermining the democratic consolidations of the past two decades. This new violence stems from a variety of social actors: drug mafias, peasant militias and urban gangs, the socalled actores armadas, and include state-related actors like the police, military intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces. The results include both governance voids - domains where the legitimate state is effectively absent - and the erosion of the capacity and willingness of state officials to abide by the rule of law themselves. These tendencies, in turn, threaten the possibility of a re-installation of authoritarian regimes under the control of political armies or, at the very least, the spread of state violence in one form or another. This book sees links between this collapse of governance and the weakening of state structures undertaken in the name of neoliberal economic reforms.
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