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Marcia Esparza, PhD
CUNY Research Foundation, John Jay College (New York, NY 10019-1007)

Faculty Research Awards
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2011 – 8/31/2012

Disarming the Minds and Souls: Paramilitary Violence in the Aftermath of Crimes Against Humanity in Latin America

I am requesting funding from the NEH to complete a book on the aftermath of state violence and genocide in Latin America. Crimes against humanity have long standing implications that have been hard to rectify, even after governmental and international attempts at peace and reconciliation. One such legacy is the ongoing, postwar militarization of paramilitary groups. My book's central argument is that prolonged militarization of these groups fosters a lasting war mindset and a military culture that is not easily dismantled even after peace processes are signed. Using my research background of the Guatemalan Civil War, I examine how war ideologies, drilled into peasant Mayan soldiers, are maintained in the absence of an existing policy of rehabilitation for war veterans. As a result, pockets of former paramilitary groups maintain their loyalty to the army, preventing their full reintegration into civil society.