MxMilAut.New

MxMilAut.New - 1 While the "Twilight of the...

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While the "Twilight of the Tyrants" seems to dim and brighten with the epoch, it has never completely faded from Latin American skies. i Even in the era of apertura , Peru, Haiti, Guatemala, and Venezuela have undergone interventions by their armed forces, while Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Nicaragua either labor under the watchful eye of their general staff or actually teeter on the precipice of military intervention. ii No Latin American country, in fact, except Mexico, has escaped the intervention of its armed forces in the post World War II era. Even those countries heralded as showcases of democracy have fallen victim to the forceful entry of their own armed forces into the polity. This breadth of rise and fall of constitutional governments through the process of military intervention indicates enormous complexity. Two actions, however, are always basic to the process. There is civilian governmental/political action and implied intentions, and there is a military interpretation of the action and intentions resulting from deeply ingrained military values. Ultimately, however, these observations indicate that civil-military communication and the resulting perceptions play a crucial role in the coup process. Civilian structure and military autonomy are therefore crucial factors in the determination of coups and the focus of this study. The 1
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study examines these factors in terms of the contrast between the apparently anomalous behavior of Mexico compared to the rest of Latin America. The assumption is that if these are indeed important determinants in the collapse of constitutional polities, then there should be observable differences between the Mexican case and other Latin American nations. DATA/ANALYSES Data for the study has been gathered from a variety of sources. Observations and interviews of 51 different officers in Mexico, Latin American officers' writings, institutional rules and structure, and interviews with Mexican civilians represent the primary data available. Secondary sources, such as country and area studies by other scholars have also been used. The methodology and data have some limitations. First, the interviews conducted in Mexico were not random samples. The secrecy of the military and general reluctance of the population to discuss the military made a true random sample survey very difficult to carry out. These characteristics led to a second problem. Survey questionnaires with quantifiable questions elicited what might be described as short, "stock" answers, 2
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especially from military officers who had career considerations foremost in their minds. Despite these limitation, efforts were made to use multiple sources to ensure data reliability and the results were compared as frequently as possible with the observations of other scholars. Finally, the open ended nature of most interviews produced responses believed to be franker and less prone to career considerations than more formally constructed instruments. The author therefore feels that despite the
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MxMilAut.New - 1 While the "Twilight of the...

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