cover of book

When States Kill: Latin America, the U.S., and Technologies of Terror
edited by Cecilia Menjívar and Néstor Rodríguez
University of Texas Press, 2005
eISBN: 978-0-292-79670-6 | Paper: 978-0-292-70679-8 | Cloth: 978-0-292-70647-7
Library of Congress Classification HV6433.L3W46 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.625098


Since the early twentieth century, technological transfers from the United States to Latin American countries have involved technologies of violence for social control. As the chapters in this book illustrate, these technological transfers have taken various forms, including the training of Latin American military personnel in surveillance and torture and the provision of political and logistic support for campaigns of state terror. The human cost for Latin America has been enormous—thousands of Latin Americans have been murdered, disappeared, or tortured, and whole communities have been terrorized into silence.

Organized by region, the essays in this book address the topic of state-sponsored terrorism in a variety of ways. Most take the perspective that state-directed political violence is a modern development of a regional political structure in which U.S. political interests weigh heavily. Others acknowledge that Latin American states enthusiastically received U.S. support for their campaigns of terror. A few see local culture and history as key factors in the implementation of state campaigns of political violence. Together, all the essays exemplify how technologies of terror have been transferred among various Latin American countries, with particular attention to the role that the United States, as a "strong" state, has played in such transfers.

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