Contesting the Iron Fist: Advocacy Networks and Police Violence in
Democratic Argentina and Chile. By Claudio A. Fuentes. New York:
Routledge, 2004. 256p. $75.00.
Police violence has become an all too common reality in Latin America.
Most scholars have chalked up the problem to authoritarian legacies, ones
inherited from colonialism, from nineteenth- and twentieth-century
caudillo's or more recently from military dictatorships of the 1960s
and 1970s. Most of these studies fail to explain why police violence can
vary so widely from country to country or from one time period to another,
nor can they account for genuine reform efforts. Fortunately, Claudio
Fuentes's book departs from these formulas and offers a more
plausible theory of police abuse in Latin America.