During the last decade many Latin American countries have resorted to mano dura (iron fist) politics and militarisation to combat crime, drugs and subversion. The high number of killed, injured and displaced persons in Colombia is a testimony of the failure of the iron fist policy with regard to in a crucial aspect of security: developing cultures of respect. When making policy in response to illegal groups’ violence, does using the same violent strategy allow for constructive social engagement? Does it break cycles of violence? While the villains’ death makes for a peaceful ending in comic books, in Latin America it reproduces violence. It is urgent to reimagine heroism and restore “enemies” their human dignity.

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