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The Military and the State in Latin America. Berkeley: University of California Press, c This work is the result of a long period of research and reflection carried out in the stimulating setting of the Center of International Studies and Research of the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques Paris. I thank the colleagues, researchers, and students at these institutions for their comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Some of the analyses put forward here have already been published in scholarly journals in another form. Others have been subjected to criticism in colloquia or roundtables.

The discussions that they have provoked have enabled me to complete, deepen, or correct my approach. I wish to express my thanks to the organizers of, and participants in, these meetings. Finally, I should thank the many civilian and military observers and actors who shared in my field research, provided documents, and assisted me in understanding the complex series of events that comprise the raw material for my analysis.

Although they are not cited in the text, it is in a way to them that this book belongs, even if they do not agree with all of its hypotheses and conclusions. In September a horrified French public discovered Latin American militarism—in the unexpected form of terrorism in Chile. The dark continent-wide tide of a praetorianism that was novel only in its date and manner of execution ended by confirming our earlier views. We came to terms with the intolerable through a few simple ideas.

The involvement of the International Telephone and Telegraph Company ITT obscured the vast of underlying, more fundamental causes. An abundance of rhetoric did the rest, and indifference followed. Latin America was no longer a model. At least since we had loved it only for its revolutionary and epic qualities. Once it was under the jackboot, martyrology replaced any desire to understand.

Superficial approaches soon reappeared. It is always easy to demonstrate one's knowledge of the th Bolivian coup or the grotesque and banal outbursts of the monstrous Pinochet or the pallid interchangeable Uruguayan jailors. But who seeks to understand why armed men obey unarmed civilian power, or to fathom the strange and almost miraculous magic involved in the workings of those fragile liberal democracies where we live—whatever the convictions and societal purposes that we favor?

Inout of twenty Latin American states, thirteen were governed by military men. In two-thirds of the total population of Latin American lived in states under military rule or dominated by the military. In South America around the same time—before the return of civilian rule in Ecuador and Peru—eight nations representing nearly four-fifths of the territory of South America were governed by officers who held power on the basis of a recent or earlier coup.

The hegemony of the military in these "derivative" nations that belong culturally to the West, in their language, religion, and juridical norms and institutions, cannot fail to trouble the consciences of those in the "industrial democracies. These universally applicable explanations or keys to the universe are merely more or less coherent extrapolations based on fragile or spectacular evidence.

They serve to set out some guidelines in an area in which great confusion reigns, precisely because of the lack of serious empirical study; however, they also reassure those who accept them. Successive interpretations emerge at each stage, adjusting themselves to the contemporary situation. Models bloom and fade. A new orthodoxy eliminates an earlier one, which in turn reemerges a little later in a more sophisticated and equally convincing form that is both coherent and applicable, but often neither true nor false.

Obviously both troubling and disturbing, this endemic hegemony of military power is not easy to explain. There is no doubt that it is not the same over space and time. These variations suggest the need for great caution. The interpretation of the tendencies that seem to emerge is very difficult. It would be cruel to recall the of carefully documented theories and definitive judgments that history has suddenly refuted and destroyed. Thus, an able observer of Latin America could write in. A revolution there is as improbable as one in England.

On this subject nothing is more unreliable than the contemporary, the transient insight, the perception based on current events. Nevertheless, the persistence of a phenomenon that seemed in its beginnings to be restricted to an area that was culturally homogeneous led to the development of global and nonhistorical explanations. Was there perhaps a type of relationship between the military institutions, power, and civil society that was peculiar to the Iberian world? Was not the very vocabulary of militarism predominantly Spanish? From the time of General Riego to Generalissimo Franco and including the wellnamed "Espadones" sword-rattlers in the nineteenth century, the Iberian Peninsula indeed appeared to be a classic locale for pronunciamentos and juntas of officers.

The persistence of the phenomenon might therefore be explained as a transplantation from Spain. The cultural and "essentialist" explanation has sometimes given way to more elaborate versions that, despite their descriptive richness, come dangerously close to tautological popular psychology.

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In particular, they insist on the normality of authoritarianism in the Latin American political systems with the army most often as its instrument. This lack of capacity for democracy is said to be the result of the juridical tradition, of the heritage of Spanish jurists and theologians since the sixteenth century, and especially of the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X, the contemporary of St. Louis in France. But why would the norms of the medieval Iberian city have been more influential on the other side of the Atlantic than those contained in the codes and constitutions of nineteenth-century European and Anglo-Saxon liberalism?

Does this not ignore the fact that the same social causes produce similar effects? It is symptomatic of the ignorance or ethnocentrism of "the chosen people"—all the authors involved are Americans—that the non-Iberian component of this world, suddenly baptized as Latin, are in effect conjured away. Why choose Alfonso the Wise rather than Atahualpa or Montezuma? What should we say more specifically about the actors?

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And in the British capital called Buenos Aires, has the population, made up largely of Italians who speak Spanish with a Genoan accent, been any less supportive of military rule for the last fifty years? Is it necessary to raise further doubt by citing the coup in neighboring Surinam, which speaks Dutch? In a more historical fashion some authors have tried to explain the frequency of military intervention in the political life of contemporary Latin America by referring to "cultural residues of the nineteenth century civil wars" in that area. Militarism goes back to the collapse of the Spanish colonial state, which produced the centrifugal and anarchic forces of the caudillos.

Today's general staff officers and antiguerrilla special forces are supposed to be the descendants of the local strongmen who were followed by their men at arms. Equating the military caudillos who were amateurs using inflated military titles with career officers le to confusion. Those improvised warriors were the product of the disorganization of society and the collapse of the state, while the career officer is an organization man who only exists by and for the state.

Furthermore, this view is historically incorrect in a of countries. There was stability and continuity, at least in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and even in Bolivia, between the period of. Civilian rule was sovereign in those countries for several decades after the annihilation of caudillismo. It hardly existed at all in Chile—to say nothing of Brazil, where national independence took place, if not smoothly, at least without societal breakdown and extended conflict.

On the contrary, the countries where the phenomenon of caudillismo was most evident earlier have had several decades without military regimes and interventions—Mexico since the s and Venezuela since All of this suggests that we should look elsewhere for the roots of militarism than to a complex and diverse human "climate. In the second half of the twentieth century, this interpretation was matched by theories that linked militarism and underdevelopment.

The role of the military in the former colonial states of black Africa gave rise to increasing doubts about the cultural explanation. Emphasis was placed on the economic, social, and international implications of American militarism. America was rediscovered in the phenomenon of decolonization and the resulting neocolonial disappointments. We might be ignorant of the mechanisms of military power, but we generally know the principal indicators of underdevelopment.

The temptation to make use of quantitative comparisons was great. Studies were devoted to the correlations between indicators of development and the "degree" of military intervention in political life. The devotees of "exact" science viewed political instability as a set of equations. These methods of "contextual" and statistical explanation, often based on statistics that were not comparable, and lacking any historical perspective or theoretical framework, increased our appetite, but did not satisfy our hunger. It does not seem unreasonable to think that, in less developed countries where social structures are weak and qualified technicians are rare, the professional army will constitute a leadership force; this reservoir of abilities in an image and a consciousness of competence that opens the door to power.

Besides, do not the tensions associated with growth operate against the possibilities of political pluralism? Are not civilian regimes and party struggles almost incompatible with orderly modernization? Is not, therefore, the democracy expressed in.

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Without authoritarian government, the capital accumulation necessary for the famous "takeoff" will not take place. The positivists of the end of the last century thought that the turbulent South American republics were naturally incapable of representative government and they called for a "democratic Caesarism," a "necessary strongman" who would be appropriate to the idiosyncrasies of their varied peoples.

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With their more scientific trappings the theorists of modernization and development are saying the same thing. In this very old and unresolved debate, explanation often becomes justification for existing regimes.

Nevertheless, recent history does not support these coherent, but fallacious, arguments. The economic performance of military regimes in Argentina, Ecuador, and Peru in the s hardly supports the military version of modernization, to say nothing of the long reigns of military dictators like Leonidas Trujillo or Alfredo Stroessner who contributed to the underdevelopment of their fiefdoms.

According to the enthusiasts of development, the more complex the social system and the more modern the economy, the fewer the opportunities for the armed forces to engage in political intervention. Reality contradicts this view; the three most advanced societies on the continent have suffered the most violent and tenacious military regimes.

Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina are precisely the nations that are most eminently pluralistic and modernized. It is even difficult to classify Argentina—which is European, urbanized, and dominated by the middle class—as an underdeveloped nation. Yet, since the hegemony of the military has become the norm in that country. The current "executioner-states" bourreaucraties of the Southern Cone do not seem, therefore, to demonstrate any economic backwardness, much less an archaic social structure.

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At the end of the s and especially beginning innew interpretations emerged that linked militarization with the actions of external agents upon Latin American societies. This marked some progress in the analysis, finally taking into the external orientation of the Latin American economies and their domination by the industrialized countries, especially the United States. The theory also took cognizance of the in. In correctly emphasizing the importance of the training of the Latin American military under North American auspices, and the coordination of military planning by the Pentagon, the specific functioning of the military institutions was finally given its rightful place.

The outrage of civilian analysts at the prospect of these soldiers, with the more or less open blessing of a foreign country, turning upon their own people the arms that were supposed to be used for their defense led to some deceptive simplifications. While the psychological approach had lost its appeal, a conspiracy theory of history, backed by an undifferentiated economism, only provided the illusion of understanding.

National elites sometimes adopted this tactic of blaming the tutelary power, thus killing two birds with one stone. With their radical rhetoric they were able to cover over class conflict and even make the military themselves appear innocent, while raising at little cost the banner of anti-imperialism. The "radical chic" of the intellectual elite constituted a third world conformism that refused to be concerned with nuances.

The naive or partisan instant expert proceeded to make vast affirmations and happily adopted a deductive approach. Thus the Latin American armies, "programmed" by Washington, the "simple appendages" of the Pentagon, only acted because they were manipulated at the behest of Yankee interests. Finally, these armies became little more than the "political parties of large international capitalism" or, as a Brazilian military man and Marxist historian likes to repeat, "It is not the generals in uniform that count—but General Motors and General Electric.

The establishment of military authoritarian regimes is said to respond to the present necessities of world capitalism and the resulting new international division of labor. The present stage of development is described as "requiring" a strong power that will repress social movements, guarantee investments, and accelerate accumulation. The "business dictatorships" did not arise in Latin America as a result of the so-called internationalization of the domestic market, nor did they emerge from the suggestions of the Trilateral Commission.

If the theory asserts once more that foreign investors prefer orderly regimes, this was also true of the dictatorships of the nineteenth century. And we are only stating the obvious. Yet the two countries that are among the most economically dependent, Mexico and Venezuela, have civilian governments and an inactive military, and despite the activities of ITT in Chile, since the large American industrial firms have avoided the Chile of "the Chicago boys," as well as Uruguay, which welcomes foreign investment, and they have even "disinvested" from Argentina since It is a strange capitalism that is able to establish regimes at its convenience but cannot make a profit from them.

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