Malcolm Deas

Malcolm Deas is a historian of Latin America, and particularly of Colombia, and an emeritus fellow at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, where he taught modern history for almost five decades. He was among the founding staff of the Latin American Centre in Oxford and for a number of years its director.


Crisis in Venezuela

21 February 2019

In his piece ‘What’s at stake in Venezuela?’ on the LRB website, Greg Grandin flinches from the task of apologising for chavismo in its current version (, 8 February). He doesn’t defend Maduro, but does attack the record of US intervention in Latin America. Given the depth of the crisis in Venezuela, that is hardly an adequate response, and his conclusion that Washington has ‘a larger...
David Lehmann chooses to speculate on my state of mind when I wrote my letter criticising Greg Grandin’s account of Venezuela, rather than to consider my arguments (Letters, 7 September). I did not write it ‘in a fury’, and do not consider my criticisms intemperate. I wrote the letter because I don’t approve of what Lehmann calls Grandin’s ‘even-handedness’: to my mind the balance of...
South American pedants’ corner: Stephen Sedley is surely wrong to attribute ‘the Mexican sobriquet “gringo"’ to the Confederate marching song ‘Green Grows the Laurel’ (Letters, 24 September). The term, used to describe any foreigner, was current in the River Plate much earlier than the US Civil War, and was also used in Spain. Some authorities consider it a corruption of griego, ‘greek’....
I agree with James Sanders that the long Colombian democratic tradition does not deserve the easy dismissal it often gets, but I do not agree with much of his analysis of the current Uribe administration (LRB, 24 January). The Colombian government is not a third ‘warring faction’, to be equated with the paramilitaries and the guerrillas: that is just the sort of ‘Anglophone’ commentary that...

Vote Uribe!

5 October 2006

Michael Taussig can stop wondering about one small matter: my cleaning-lady’s operation had nothing to do with my connections with President Uribe (Letters, 16 November). As for his other – rhetorical? – questions, he well knows that Colombia suffers from guerrillas and paramilitaries, fed by the drug trade, and that the violence, corruption and threat to legitimate authority worsened in the...

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