Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

Brian E. Loveman

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:
Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

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Before the wave of military coups and military governments from the early 1960s until 1990, the social science and history literature on civil-military relations in Latin America was virtually devoid of serious empirical research. In response to the surge in military governments in the region, this literature burgeoned. This article gives priority to landmark theoretical treatments, comparative research, and selected country studies with extensive bibliographical materials. While this article may have inevitably omitted the favorite books and articles of some researchers, it includes work illustrating diverse theoretical, empirical, and normative approaches to civil-military relations in Latin America. It does not include the much broader literature on comparative civil-military relations. In a broad sense, “civil-military relations” refers to the contact points, formal and informal, of the armed forces with civilians and civilian policymakers as well as civilian perceptions of military institutions and military perceptions of civilian and government institutions. Such contact points may include, among many others, military participation in various government agencies and policymaking councils, legislative oversight of military budgets, approval of promotions of high-ranking officers, appointments to military academies, definition of the curriculum in military schools and academies, collaboration on formation of defense and national security policy, and connections of military officers to political parties, voluntary associations, religious institutions, and other arenas in which civilian and military contacts occur. Media access to, and coverage of, the armed forces may also be an important aspect of civil-military relations. After first identifying the “pioneers” in the study of civil-military relations in Latin America, the sections of this article then focus on studies of the constitutional missions of the Latin American armed forces and their statutory authority, from internal policing to developing numerous economic enterprises, public works, and providing disaster relief. A subsequent section considers the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians both in normal times and under regimes of exception and emergency authority (state of siege, state of assembly, state of internal commotion, and other temporary suspension of constitutional rights and liberties included in almost all Latin American constitutions). Following the sections on formal and institutional treatments of civil-military relations, the article turns to the vast literature on the causes of military coups in Latin America, comparative and case studies of civil-military relations from 1959 to 1990, the transitions back to civilian government (1978–early 1990s), discussions of “civilian control” or “civilian supremacy” over military institutions, and to the literature on post–Cold War civil-military relations in the region.

Article.  12994 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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