National Security Doctrine in Latin America

Daniel Feierstein

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

National Security Doctrine in Latin America

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  • History
  • Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
  • History of the Americas



During the second half of the twentieth century, large sections of the population were exterminated in various parts of Latin America. Most of these events followed a similar pattern and were the result of what became known as the National Security Doctrine. The practice of systematic annihilation of political enemies in Latin America, which began as early as 1954 with the military coup in Guatemala, continued almost until the beginning of the twenty-first century, spreading throughout practically all of Latin America. This article analyses the general characteristics of these developments, their similarities and differences, and the possible connections between civil wars in the region and processes of mass extermination, taking into account that there were no real wars in many of the territories in which these practices were applied. It examines the cases of Guatemala and Argentina.

Keywords: civil wars; mass extermination; Guatemala and Argentina; genocide; Latin America; National Security Doctrine

Article.  8560 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing ; History of the Americas

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