Guide Military Rule in Latin America

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HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA

Permissions Icon Permissions. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Some studies emphasized the technocratic character of the regimes; more critical studies traced the vulnerability ofdemocracy to the exigencies of underdevelopment and found industrialization more likely to take place under authoritarian auspices. However, recent experience has disproved the prognosis that the military regimes would be able to perpetuate themselves in power indefinitely. By the early s signs of political weakness in the military authoritarian regimes were increasingly evident.

The Argentine dictatorship collapsed in the aftermath of the Falklands debacle, but even prior to this time the regime's stability was in doubt; in this respect, the military's decision to occupy the Falklands was partly motivated by domestic economic difficulties. Similar developments have occurred elsewhere.

Military dictatorship

In late the Uruguayan military allowed an election in which a civilian president from the centrist Colorado party, Julio Sanguinetti, was returned to power. In Brazil, the candidate of the opposition and former prime minister, Tancredo Neves, won the presidency through the electoral college by building a coalition that included a substantial contingent of the government party. Neves' sudden death before taking office placed the future of civilian government in doubt inasmusch as his successor, Vice President Jose Sarney, did not enjoy his widespread support from both of Brazil's major political parties.


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  5. However, as of this writing May , the military has renounced the option of intervention in the political process, while the Congress has approved popular election of the president, a move that it had previously rejected under military administration. In essence, what Neves accomplished even though he did not live to hold office was to restore the prestige of civilian rule and create a precedent for a return to democracy.

    A New Dawn for Latin American Militaries

    The authors contrast their hypothesis with alternative explanations based on structural variables—for example, the influential modernization theory, which broadly establishes that the level of modernization has a major impact on the likelihood of democratization. The authors convincingly argue that their approach offers a more nuanced explanation than alternative theories of regime change. The book includes a chapter on the post—third wave period, which began in Their conclusion that reversion to authoritarianism is likely when the three variables negatively evolve has unfortunately been demonstrated by the continued democratic decay in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

    In those countries, elected officials enact radical and polarizing policies that have flagrantly violated the main principles of democracy—in particular, respect for civil and political rights and truly competitive electoral processes. Despite the genuine reasons to praise democratization in many Latin American countries, it may be time to overcome complacency and focus on detecting and halting a troublesome trend toward democratic deterioration.

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