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May 20, 2006 [LINK]

Justice vs. peace in Colombia

Putting an ironic twist on the cliche, "No justice, no peace," a judge in Colombia ruled that the peace agreement that was supposed to disarm the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) militias is not valid. Human rights groups say the deal is too lenient, but the alternative is to let the militias continue to operate as they have been, making a mockery of police protection in certain rural areas. See This is a perfect illustration of the imperfect, contingent nature of justice, which cannot be defined exclusively by reference to abstract principles, but must be pursued with due regard for what is feasible given the existing configuration of interests. There are no hard and fast rules about how to proceed. In some fractured societies, justice (and therefore peace) will remain out of reach for as long as leading organized groups refuse to come to terms with each other. That, of course, is the case with Iraq right now. In some former dictatorships or oppressive regimes, such as Argentina or South Africa, the transition to an open, pluralistic system is part of a series of bargains with the bad guys who used to run things, leaving some aggrieved people frustrated.

Venezuela update

The news chronology on the Venezuela page is now up to date. Reviewing Hugo Chavez's path to near-absolute power in that formerly free and prosperous country is very sobering. On two or three occasions, his opponents came close to prevailing, which might have changed the course of history in Latin America.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 20 May 2006, 9: 58 PM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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