Wars of Latin America, 1982–2013

The Path to Peace


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About the Book

This book, continuing the narrative begun by the author in two preceding volumes, provides a clear description of military combat occurring in Latin America for the years from 1982 into mid–2013. Although the text concentrates on combat operations, matters of politics, business and international relations appear as necessary to understand the wars.
The author has uncovered many previously unknown sources to provide new information never published before. The book traces the many insurgencies in Latin America as well as conventional wars. Among the highlights are the chapters on the Falklands War and the U.S. invasions of Grenada and Panama. One useful aspect of the text is an explanation of why, of the many insurgencies appearing in Latin America, only those in Cuba and Nicaragua were successful in overthrowing governments. The book also helps explain why even unsuccessful insurgencies have survived for decades, as has happened in Colombia and Peru.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

René De La Pedraja, PhD, University of Chicago, has researched and written numerous publications. He is a professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

René De La Pedraja
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 292
Bibliographic Info: 17 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7016-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1244-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables     x

Preface     1

Part I. Leftist Revolutionaries on the Defensive

 1. Counteroffensive in Central America     3

Nicaragua: The Emergence of the Contras, 1979–1982 3

El Salvador: The First Effort Against FMLN, 1981–1983 10

The Second Spanish Conquest: The Army Offensive in Guatemala, 1981–1982 14

2. War Between Argentina and Great Britain 20

The Road to War 20

Argentina Prepares for the British Counterattack 27

The Start of Hostilities 32

The Landing at San Carlos 37

The Battle of Darwin 41

The Battle for Port Stanley 45

3. Response to Revolutionaries 50

The U.S. Invasion of Grenada in 1983 50

Guatemala: The Second Spanish Colonization, 1983–1986 59

El Salvador: Blunting the Guerrillas in 1984 63

4. Nicaragua: Contras on the Offensive, 1982–1984 67

Edén Pastora and the Creation of the Southern Front 67

Contra Offensives in the North 70

5. Peru: Threats to Shining Path 76

The Peruvian Army in Ayacucho, 1982–1985 76

The Appearance of the Last Guerrilla Group in Latin America 81

6. Guerrillas in Colombia: Recovery and Expansion, 1982–1984 86

M-19: From Jaime Bateman to ­Cease-­Fire, 1982–1984 86

The Revival of EPL, 1982–1984 89

FARC: Cocaine and ­Cease-­Fire 94

7. Peru: The Recovery of Shining Path 97

Ayacucho and the Highlands 97

The Discovery of the Upper Huallaga Valley 100

8. Nicaragua: The Contras’ Last Effort 106

The Struggle in the Southern Front, 1984–1986 106

The Final Showdown, 1985–1988 109

Part II. Leftist Revolutionaries in Retreat

9. The U.S. Invasion of Panama 117

The United States and Manuel Noriega 117

Operation Just Cause 120

10. Glimmers of Peace in Colombia, 1984–1991 128

M-19: From ­Cease-­Fire to ­Cease-­Fire, 1984–1989 128

The Final Effort of EPL, 1985–1991 135

The Army Campaigns Against FARC, 1985–1990 141

11. Peace in Central America, 1988–1996 147

The Resurgence of FMLN in El Salvador, 1988–1992 147

Guatemala: The Long Journey to Peace 157

12. Peru: Victories for the Government, 1989–1992 160

Blunting MRTA 160

The Struggle for the Upper Huallaga Valley 163

Decision in the Highlands 167

The Battle for Lima 172

Part III. Peru and Colombia

13. Peru: Flickering Insurgency and War with Ecuador 177

Lost Opportunities, 1992–1993 177

The Return to Upper Huallaga Valley and the Aries Operation of 1994 179

The War with Ecuador Over Cenepa 183

The Last Try of MRTA 188

14. Colombia: FARC on the Offensive, 1991–2001 191

FARC’s Response to the Casa Verde Attack, 1991–1993 191

The High Point of FARC Success, 1994–1998 193

The End of the Guerrilla Offensive, 1998–2001 202

15. Peru: The Return of Shining Path 208

The Survival of Shining Path 208

From Shining Path to Regional Warlords 211

16. Colombia: The War Against FARC, 2001–2013 217

Northwest Colombia: Demobilization and Paramilitaries 217

The Government on the Offensive: Plan Patriota 224

From Stalemate to Peace Negotiations, 2008–2013 229

17. Reflections on Guerrillas in Latin America 234

Chapter Notes 243

Annotated Selected Bibliography 267


Book Reviews & Awards

“the coverage is comprehensive…the writing is consistently clear, and De La Pedraja enhances the text with useful maps and excellent references. Highly recommended”—Choice.