Three parallel wars were fought in the latter half of the twentieth century in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. These wars were long and brutal, dividing international opinion sharply between US support for dictatorial regimes and the USSR's sponsorship of guerrilla fighters.
This fascinating study of the `guerrilla generation' is based on in-depth interviews with both guerrilla comandantes and political and military leaders of the time. Dirk Kruijt analyses the dreams and achievements, the successes and failures, the utopias and dystopias of an entire Central American generation and its leaders. Guerrillas ranges widely, from the guerrilla movement's origins in poverty, oppression and exclusion; its tactics in warfare; the ill-fated experiment with Sandinista government in Nicaragua; to the subsequent `normalization' of guerrilla movements within democratic societies. The story told here is vital for understanding contemporary social movements in Latin America.
Dirk Kruijt is Professor of Development Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University. For many years he served as a development diplomat and policy advisor in Central America. He has been a visiting professor at several universities in the UK and in Brasil and Mexico, the Andean countries and Central America. His research includes urban poverty, informality and social exclusion; the military and democracy; political conflict and post-war reconstruction in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is co-editor of four previously published Zed titles: Fractured Cities: Social Exclusion, Urban Violence and Contested Spaces in Latin America (2006); Armed Actors: Organised Violence and State Failure in Latin America (2004); Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy (2002); and Societies of Fear: The Legacy of Civil War, Violence and Terror in Latin America (1999).