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Citizens of Fear

Susana Rotker
Price: $ 23

Citizens of Latin American capitals live in constant fear, amidst some of the most dangerous conditions on earth. In that vast region, about 140 thousand people die violently each year, and one out of three citizens has been directly or indirectly victimized by violence. In Venezuela alone, adults on average become targets of seventeen crimes, four of which are violent, in their lifetimes. In Mexico, 97 percent of all reported crimes go unpunished. Crime, in effect, is an undeclared war.

Citizens of Fear examines the problem from multiple perspectives. In part, it presents the survey results of social scientists documenting the pervasiveness of violence. But the numbers tell only part of the story. Other contributors present the moving testimonies of the victimized as well as of journalists covering the scene. A third group of essayists explores the implications of fear for both thought and behavior. As Susana Rotker writes, "The city has been transformed into a space of vulnerability and danger. . . . What I am interested in narrating here is . . . the generalized sensation of insecurity that taints the Latin American capitals, the sensation that has changed the ways people relate to urban space, to other human beings, to the state, and to the very concept of citizenship."

About the Author
Susana Rotker was a professor in the Spanish department at Rutgers University. She is the author of The Memoirs of Fray Servando Teresa De Mier and The American Chronicles of José Martí: Journalism and Modernity in Spanish America. She died in 2000, shortly after completing her work on this book.

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