ARMS AND POLITICS IN LATIN AMERICA by Edwin Lieuwen

ARMS AND POLITICS IN LATIN AMERICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a rather thorough study of the role of the military in the political life of Latin America. The study, written under the sponsorship of the Council on Foreign Relations, covers a wide area, beginning with the origins of militarism in Latin America in the early part of the 19th century and tracing its evolution in each country against the background of subsequent Latin American history. Everything about the environment in Latin America has seemed to invite military rule: the decadence of the oligarchy, the political immaturity, poverty and illiteracy of the new groups aspiring to power, and the lack of any strong, well-integrated group aside from the armed forces. In recent years, social upheaval and economic development have given the military new handles on which to grasp for power. While the author shows that the long-term trend is definitely away from military rule to civilian government, he also indicates that at the present the role of the military is not identical in any two countries. There are many gradations between the one extreme, Costa Rica, which has no army at all, and the other, the Dominican Republic, which is completely controlled by the military. The author devotes an entire chapter to the study of how militarism has been curbed in Mexico. The final part of the book is devoted to the military aspects of the Latin American policy of the United States. Mr. Lieuwen analyzes U. S. policy, criticizes it, and offers his own suggestions for improvement.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 1959
Publisher: Praeger