These drastic reforms have intensified since current President Alvaro Uribe came to power in 2002. After the IMF loaned $2.1 billion in 2003 on the condition that the reforms be accelerated, Uribe "privatized one of the country's largest banks (BANCAFE), restructured the pension program, and reduced the number of public-sector workers in order to cut budget deficits, as required by the international lending institution. Uribe also closed down some of the country's biggest public hospitals, eliminating over four thousand medical jobs, and denationalized companies in the telecommunications, oil, and mining sectors," reports Hristov.
These are a few of the statistics compiled by Hristov, who writes that "in a country of 45 million, around 11 million people are unable to afford even one nutritious meal a day. According to statistics from 2005, 65 percent of Colombians are unable to regularly satisfy basic subsistence needs. In rural areas, the poverty rate is as high as 85 percent"In 2000 it was estimated that half a million children suffer from malnutrition and close to 2.5 million children between the ages of six and seventeen are forced to work"Furthermore, there has been a notable decline in school attendance, literacy, and life expectancy as well as access to child care and education over the past couple of years."
Blood, Capital, and the State Coercive Apparatus
Throughout Blood & Capital, Hristov details many horrifying ways in which the rich are empowered by violence from what she identifies as the "state's coercive apparatus" (SCA). She argues that "two intertwining motifs run throughout Colombia's history: (1) social relations marked by inequality, exploitation, and exclusion and (2) violence employed by those with economic and political power over the working majority and the poor in order to acquire control over resources, forcibly recruit labor, and suppress or eliminate dissent."
Dating back to the European conquest of the Americas, Hristov asserts that violence has been central to the creation of modern-day Colombia's government and economy. She writes that "starting in the late 1500s, the conquerors began clearing the indigenous population from territories with desirable characteristics--mineral deposits, fertile soil, access to water, transportation routes, and so on. The separation of the indigenous from their means of subsistence allowed the formation of a local colonial elite who transformed what used to be the native inhabitants communal lands into large estates or haciendas. The creation of landless peasants facilitated the supply of labor for the Spaniards' ventures, such as mining and agriculture."