Predatory States

Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America

By (author) J. Patrice McSherry

Publication date:

03 June 2005

Length of book:

336 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742536869

This powerful study makes a compelling case about the key U.S. role in state terrorism in Latin America during the Cold War. Long hidden from public view, Operation Condor was a military network created in the 1970s to eliminate political opponents of Latin American regimes. Its key members were the anticommunist dictatorships of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, later joined by Peru and Ecuador, with covert support from the U.S. government. Drawing on a wealth of testimonies, declassified files, and Latin American primary sources, J. Patrice McSherry examines Operation Condor from numerous vantage points: its secret structures, intelligence networks, covert operations against dissidents, political assassinations worldwide, commanders and operatives, links to the Pentagon and the CIA, and extension to Central America in the 1980s. The author convincingly shows how, using extralegal and terrorist methods, Operation Condor hunted down, seized, and executed political opponents across borders. McSherry argues that Condor functioned within, or parallel to, the structures of the larger inter-American military system led by the United States, and that declassified U.S. documents make clear that U.S. security officers saw Condor as a legitimate and useful 'counterterror' organization. Revealing new details of Condor operations and fresh evidence of links to the U.S. security establishment, this controversial work offers an original analysis of the use of secret, parallel armies in Western counterinsurgency strategies. It will be a clarion call to all readers to consider the long-term consequences of clandestine operations in the name of 'democracy.'
J. Patrice McSherry's book occupies a central place in this new literature [documenting the history of long-known abuses in Latin America] as it successfully analyzes the extent of U.S. involvement in the region and the connections between U.S. Cold War policies and some of the most egregious human rights abuses that took place in the region. . . . McSherry's careful analysis of newly declassified documents allows her to unveil the role that the U.S. played in aiding and abetting criminal regimes to conduct extraterritorial operations to kill their 'enemies' throughout the globe.