Black Vladimir, as he is called, was a ruthless mercenary in Colombia's civil war, having committed murders for both sides in the ongoing conflict. He has confessed to murdering over 800 people, and when Steven Dudley interview him in a Colombian ...
prison a few years ago, he was serving out his sentence for all those murders: 30 years. In Walking Ghosts , Dudley expertly crafts story after story of politicians, drug kingpins, revolutionaries, and killers like Black Vladimir to map out the complicated and murderous absurdity that is everyday life in Colombia. The current government there is trying to negotiate a peace settlement with FARC, the largest guerilla group. With close to 20,000 troops, FARC remains the most powerful guerilla group in our hemisphere today. But as in Israel or Ireland, peace is not really peace. Worried about the FARC's strength and its role in the drug trade, the United States recently approved a $1.3 billion aide package to help the Colombian government fight FARC. Steven Dudley seeks to make sense of this complicated conflict by focusing on the stories of key actors in the struggle, from the earliest days to the present. He has seen the civil war up close: dead bodies, paramilitaries, guerillas, victims, and survivors. He has witnessed political parties grappling for power by any means necessary, and he's spoken to all sides and asked the difficult questions. Fast-paced and informative, Walking Ghosts presents a window into a conflict likely to shape the politics of this hemisphere for years to come.