Death squads, security forces and private justice organizations: Paramilitaries in contemporary Latin America
This dissertation investigates the emergence and political role of paramilitary groups in modern Latin America. Using a comparative case study of Chiapas, Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador, the study looks at domestic political alignments and the condition of the state, as well as additional domestic and international actors and events as explanatory factors in the emergence of paramilitary groups. In addition, the dissertation studies the role(s) paramilitaries play in state politics, and the effect paramilitary violence has on domestic and international politics and policy. Specifically, the research investigates whether paramilitaries are officially or unofficially aligned with the state, the extent of state knowledge or complicity with paramilitary violence, and whether paramilitary groups typically evolve into political parties.