Thinking critically the concept of frontier. State re-territorialization, post-conflict agendas and the creation of a counterinsurgent frontier in the Colombian High Plains.

Authors: Diego Andres Lugo Vivas*, University of Miami
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, South America, Land Use
Keywords: State re-territorialization, counterinsurgent frontier, segmented development, Colombian High Plains
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Following perspectives on state re-territorialization and (post?)conflict agri-business investments in contexts of peace negotiations, this presentation aims to describe processes of territorially segmented development in the contested Colombian frontier. After a period of intensification of the armed conflict (1997/2006) and the signature of two Peace Accords (2003 & 2016) with the largest insurgent and counterinsurgent groups in Colombia, policies oriented to boost national agriculture and recover the contested frontier from "illicit" activities, have been implemented in several departments. The High Plains (Altillanura), particularly, have experienced a renaissance of agribusiness activities with the flow of international capital, especially Trans-Latina capital, going into the region. This would not have happened a couple of years ago. But now, the combination of environmental, military, infrastructural, financial, and socio-economic macro-policies have radically transformed the socio-productive landscape of this region. In this presentation, I will show some of the main findings of my fieldwork in the municipality of Cumaribo (Colombian/Venezuelan border). I argue that under a comprehensive counterinsurgent program of state re-territorialization, spatially segmented development has taken off in Cumaribo. On one hand, massive Trans-Latina investment and a pronounced increase in the transactions of properties have led to a path of re-concentration and a consolidation of an agro-export platform in the west. On the other, policies of "voluntary eradication" in the south, have made visible a historically excluded region, turning it into a laboratory for new post-conflict practices (and struggles). I conclude that these transformations have turned this region into an actual counterinsurgent frontier.

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