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Chapter Twenty-Two. The National Security State

David R. Mares

Subject History » Political History

Place Americas » Central America, South America

Key-Topics power, security

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131612.2008.00023.x


Governments created by military coups and run brutally by individual military officers have not been strangers in Latin American history. But the aftermath of military coups in Ecuador in1963 and Brazil in 1964 ushered in a new era of authoritarian governments in which the military as an institution ruled directly or indirectly, using military-generated doctrines concerning security and development as guides. And though the Ecuadorian (1963-6 and 1972-9) and Peruvian (1968-80) military governments were not particularly egregious violators of human rights ( Fitch 1992 : 63; Palmer 1992 : 304-5), Brazil's horribly systematic use of torture to limit opposition (1964-85) was repeated by military governments in Argentina (1976-82), Chile (1973-89), and Uruguay (1973-85). The phenomenon has been labeled variously, each highlighting a distinct aspect. The most widely used and known is Guillermo O'Donnell's “Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Regime” (1979), which highlights the institutional and technocratic side of the political regime's approach to governing. But Alain Rouquié's “Terrorist State” (1987) also attracts adherents because of its emphasis on the human misery inflicted upon its own society by these governments. And Jorge A. Tapia Valdés's “Stratego-cratic State” (1986) as well as Frederick Nunn's “Professional Militarism” (1992) concept insist upon the military nature of these regimes. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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