The Derailment of a Pioneering Participatory Project
Chapter abstract: This chapter analyzes within-case variation in the institutional outcomes of the politics of urban violence in Cali. In the early 1990s a participatory political project developed by mayor Rodrigo Guerrero was derailed amidst conflictive relations between local government and business along with a pattern of fragmented armed territorial control. Efforts to deepen the political incorporation of marginalized communities and resocialize members of youth gangs were derailed by the interaction between private sector opposition, high levels of lethal violence, and low coordination in criminal leadership. Cali’s second participatory project in the early 2000s also faltered when confronted with increased conflict in local government-business relations and escalating homicides amidst further fragmentation in criminal leadership with the arrival of drug trafficking organizations, paramilitaries, and insurgencies into the city. The case of Cali illustrates how conflictive relations and fragmented territorial control can become mutually reinforcing and constrain participatory political projects.
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