Reshaping Political Order and Criminal Coexistence
Chapter abstract: This chapter provides a within-case analysis of contrasting outcomes in the politics of urban violence in Medellin. In the early 1990s disengaged relations between local government and business coupled with fragmented armed territorial control derailed the city’s first participatory political project in response to urban violence. A decade collaborative relations emerged between business and a local government led by mayor Sergio Fajardo, and territorial control shifted into a monopoly under the authority of a former paramilitary leader. This combination helped to successfully sustain a second participatory political project that was used to rebrand Medellin as an emerging global city. The analysis shows that the reality of the Medellin miracle is far more complex than either its political architects or international donors concede, and is emblematic of the significant ways in which the politics of urban violence can reshape political order in major developing world cities.
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