1 The rationale behind international accompaniment was that because of
the political, economic, and military connections between the United
States and, to a lesser extent, the European Union, the Colombian gov-
ernment and allied paramilitaries seek to minimize the political fallout
of gross human rights violations that might arise if a foreigner witnessed
a human rights crime. According to this thinking, Colombian activists
accompanied by foreign—especially EU and North American observers—
were less vulnerable to attack (Mahoney and Eguren 1997).
2 Although I coordinated the visits of two delegations of U.S. activists to
Colombia with the U.S.-based human rights organization Witness for
Peace in July 2006 and again in 2010, I never worked for a human rights
organization. I always introduced myself as a U.S.-based university pro-
fessor writing a book about political violence in Colombia.
3 To this end, I am deeply indebted to the work of August Carbonella and
Sharryn Kasmir and have benefited from many fruitful discussions with
4 For notable anthropological exceptions, see, for example, Sider (1986)
and Striffler (2002).
5 E. P. Thompson, for example, did not focus just on the workplace but also
explored how the British working class was “made” in neighborhoods
and churches. Although Thompson’s work has shaped the development of
labor history over the last half century, a brief interdisciplinary engage-
ment of anthropology with working-class and labor history prompted by
Thompson’s writings was marginalized and never fully developed (e.g.,
Cooper 2000; Kalb 2000).