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Until the 1980s, Colombia's Llanos Orientales was a frontier, a vast tropical grassland plain east of the Andes. Populated mainly by indigenous people, it was considered "primitive" by much of the rest of Colombia. All of that changed when exploitable petroleum deposits were discovered, and the Llanos was transformed into the fastest growing region in the country.

Rausch surveys sixty years of the area's history, from La Violencia--the civil war that rocked the country from 1948 to 1958--and the presidency of Rojas Pinilla, who helped pacify the Llanos in the late 1950s, to the National Front agreement between the Conservative and Liberal parties during the 1960s, its aftermath, and the rapid changes during the last half of the twentieth century. Using archival research and her own first-hand experiences, Jane Rausch examines the Colombian government's Llanos policies and the political, economic, and social changes they have brought about. This book brings to a strong conclusion Rausch's large-scale historical survey of a region: one sharing much in common with other South American frontiers and critical to Colombia's present and future.

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