The word recortaban is the imperfect form of recortar in the third person plural.
See the full recortar conjugation

recortar

A lo lejos se recortaban las montañas que nos separaban de Chile, cuyas toscas se veían erosionadas por los fuertes vientos.
In the distance, the mountainous skyline separated us from Chile, whose rocks were eroded by the strong winds.
Cerca del siglo V AC, el estilo de los hombres era de cabellos enrulados y barbas, las cuales recortaban, enrulaban y peinaban.
Near the 5th century, men hairstyle was of wavy hair and beards, which they trimmed, curled and combed. At this task barbers were dedicated to.
El mar de la bahía se fundía con el azul del cielo, las montañas que cerraban el lugar enmarcaban el entorno con sus colores ocres y las siluetas de los cactus se recortaban contra el sol recordándonos la cercanía del desierto.
The sea at the bay fused itself with the blue sky, the mountains that surrounded the area framed it with its ochre hues and the cacti silhouettes were outlined by the sun, reminding us of the nearby desert.
Se debilitó el sindicato de maestros y se dieron extremas facilidades a la educación privada, mientras se recortaban los recursos para la educación pública.
The teachers' union was weakened and extreme facilities were offered to private education, while spending on public education was cut.
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