The New York Times reports on Colombia,

The government of President Álvaro Uribe, the largest recipient of American aid outside the Middle East, has found itself ensnared in a widening scandal as revelations surface of a secret alliance between some of the president’s most prominent political supporters and paramilitary death squads.

Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer. See also this post.

According to North, Wallis, and Weingast, a natural state is an equilibrium in which access to power and wealth are limited to an elite coalition. Is Colombia a natural state, or is it something more primitive–a state of disorder, in which no one is safe?

Tyler comments that “paramilitaries are interest groups and traders, not just guys with guns.” I think that NWW would say that this is always the case.