Military as an Institution in Latin America and Its Role in Chile Term Paper

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Latin America today is known not only for its unique, culture-based, Spanish legacy, but it's also known for political instability, military coups and political adventurism. It's enough to remind economic collapse in Argentina of 2001, presidential elections in Venezuela and Peru, insurgency in Columbia and Bolivia, etc. Militarist particularities of national governments laid into the main theme of a famous novel 100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez., who wrote that nothing had changed in situation of working class since war for independence despite all revolutions and military governments with populist slogans. Latin America is characterized by unique political traditions, which have nothing common with political institutes of the U.S.A., despite the fact that political systems of both Americas developed under similar conditions in the same historical epoch: struggle for independence from their European metropolises in 18-19th centuries. Some authors, for example Jose Pinera note that the "fathers of nations" in Latin America didn't fight for the ideals of democracy, freedom and equal opportunities, which they lacked under Spanish crown. Later it became clear, that it was a "desire" of chosen in colonies to become independent from the crown in order to get full control over the domestic affairs in South America. Due to historical particularities and political climate in colonies ambitions of new "hidalgos" were widely supported by lower classes that hoped to better their situation. S. Bolivar, O'Higgins and Sucre considered Napoleon's France to be a perfect state, an authoritarian regime led by government of "elite." Neither Bolivar nor Sucre considered constitutional government and civil society principles to be the most appropriate for Latin America states, as such principles and institutions would limit their powers:"... It is one thing to know how to fight and another to govern. The Liberators (and their successors) did not anchor the young republics in the values of individual liberty, did not establish the rule of law, and did not limit the delegation of authority by the people to their democratic representatives. On the contrary, they maintained -- and in some cases, further improved on -- the Spanish centralizing tradition."(Pinera, 409)

Authoritarian tradition of government survived in Latin America today as corruption supplemented by social problems and economical instability creates favorable conditions for populism of charismatic political leaders. The words of Victor Hugo: "Most commonly revolt is born of material circumstances" suits Latin America perfectly well. One of the brightest examples of military dictatorship in Latin America is regime of general Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Despite cruelty of repressions and violations of human rights junta served as "reanimation" to a country with declining economy and growing poverty, as A. Pinochet was able to restore all diplomatic ties lost during Allende's office. Victory of socialists led by Salvador Allende on presidential elections and his nationalization policies, led to investments outflow and further economical and political isolation. Allende cooperated with Soviet Union but he could not fully rely on the aid of Soviets, which subsidized Eastern Europe, communist regimes of Asia and Africa. Despite the support among lower classes, government of Allende was unable to control situation in the country, which led to the military coup organized by general A. Pinochet.

Military Junta government, which formed authoritarian regime for the next 27 years, didn't change situation in the country for better but only worsened political and economical contradictions. Today it's a well-known fact that regime of Pinochet is guilty in mass repressions, persecution and deportation of political decedents. More than 2200 people are officially recognized to be the victims of the regime, according to non-official data the number of victims exceeds 32000. Junta is often called a government of "strong hand and iron fist," but in fact it was a new government of adventurism supported by national oligarchy and army.

It's an interesting fact that Pinochet's government accused in economical fails not only socialists led by Allende, but also all political parties which were considered to be dilettantes and demagogues. Junta banned all political parties including Christian Democrats and even Nationalist party. Economic policies were similar to political ideology, as they promoted on practice the theory of "neoliberalism" and open market, which in fact was absence of any control over privatization… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Military as an Institution in Latin America and Its Role in Chile.  (2006, November 6).  Retrieved September 28, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Military as an Institution in Latin America and Its Role in Chile."  6 November 2006.  Web.  28 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Military as an Institution in Latin America and Its Role in Chile."  November 6, 2006.  Accessed September 28, 2021.