Monday, June 7, 2010

Chaff - Greg Egan

"Colombia was tearing itself apart; La Violencia of the 1950s, all over again. Although all of the spectacular terrorist sabotage was being carried out by organized guerilla groups, most of the deaths so far had been caused by factions within the two mainstream political parties butchering each other's supporters, avenging a litany of past atrocities which stretched back for generations. The group who'd actually started the current wave of bloodshed had negligible support; Ejército de Simon Bolívar were lunatic right-wing extremists who wanted to "reunite" with Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador--after two centuries of separation--and drag in Peru and Bolivia, to realize Bolívar's dream of Gran Colombia. By assassinating President Marín, though, they'd triggered a cascade of events that had nothing to do with their ludicrous cause. Strikes and protests, street battles, curfews, martial law. The repatriation of foreign capital by nervous investors, followed by hyperinflation, and the collapse of the local financial system. Then a spiral of opportunistic violence. Everyone, from the paramilitary death squads to the Maoist splinter groups, seemed to believe that their hour had finally come."

3.5 out of 5

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