Paramilitary Violence in Colombia: A Multilevel Negative Binomial Analysis
Holmes, Jennifer S.
Mendizabal, Agustin Palao
De La Fuente, David Saucedo
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Although Colombia is well known for its persistent leftist guerrilla conflict, the country also suffers from paramilitary violence. This study examines the potential factors related to persistent paramilitary violence in the form of human rights violations. How has paramilitary activity, and its causes, changed over time? Why does it persist in some areas after Uribe’s demobilization process but not in others? We use multilevel modeling to explore the determinants of paramilitary human rights violations. A varied range of aspects potentially associated with the paramilitary presence at the municipal level for the period 2002–2015, such as state presence, resources, greed, grievances and conflict are analyzed. The study uses information about paramilitary human rights violations from the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular (CINEP). Results suggest that the demobilization process reduced the initial paramilitary motivation to fight against leftist guerrilla. However, other factors such as coca cultivation or ranching remained significantly related to the paramilitary activity. The analysis at the municipal level provides clear warnings for continued violence cycles threatening any undergoing or future peace processes or demobilizations and calls for a more nuanced concept of state capacity to understand paramilitary violence. © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.