Crafting Civilian Control of the Military in Venezuela
A Comparative Perspective
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
Writing about Venezuelan civil-military relations has often seemed like an effort to pin down a rapidly moving target, especially when I consider how muchVenezuela has changed since the earliest origins of this project in 1991. Although the civil-military system appears to have reached a new equilibrium as of the fall of 2004, there will certainly be new opportunities for instability now that civilian control is no longer institutionalized. Nevertheless, the findings of...
1. Democracy and Civilian Control of the Armed Forces: Venezuela in Comparative Perspective
The failed 1992 coup attempt by Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez Frias came as a surprise to many observers of Venezuela who had long considered it a consolidated democracy. Although the coup attempts were beaten back by forces loyal to the regime, Venezuela’s democracy began to unravel. President Carlos Andrés Pérez was...
2. A Lost Opportunity: The Failure of Democratization in Venezuela, 1945–1948
Following weeks of tension between the armed forces and Venezuela’s fledgling democratic government, President Rómulo Gallegos was detained by army officers at his home in Caracas on 24 November 1948. Other officers quickly arrested the leadership of the ruling party, Acción Democrática (AD), along with labor activists, journalists, and prominent civilian supporters of the Gallegos government...
3. The 1958 Transition to Democracy in Venezuela: Strategizing Civilian Control
In 1958 Venezuela experienced a second opportunity to democratize. Unlike the first attempt in 1945-48, in this case Venezuelan democracy survived and became consolidated, enjoying an unusual degree of political stability by South American standards, at least until 1992. Certainly, the political and economic conditions in Venezuela had not changed sufficiently during the decade of authoritarian rule to...
4. Statecraft and Military Subordination in Venezuela, 1959–1973
On 26 December 1958 Rómulo Betancourt addressed a closed-door assembly of 1,200 military officers in Caracas to explain his administration’s future policies and to listen to their concerns. It was the high point of his tour as president-elect of the country’s major garrisons. As Venezuela’s first democratically elected president following...
5. Civilian Control under Fire: Resisting Challenges from the Military in Venezuela, 1992
On the evening of 3 February 1992, army troops led by members of an elite parachute regiment attempted to take control of the government of Venezuela. In Caracas, soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez Frias attacked the presidential residence of La Casona, the seat of government at Miraflores palace, the Generalísimo...
6. Revolutionizing Civil-Military Relations? Hugo Chávez and the Fifth Republic in Venezuela, 1998–2004
On the evening of 11 April 2002, the third day of a general strike, elements of the Venezuelan armed forces rebelled against their commander in chief, President Hugo Chávez Frias. Reacting to the bloody outcome of clashes between pro- and antigovernment demonstrators near the presidential palace, the commander of the army, General Efraín Vásquez Velasco, announced in a nationally televised address that...
7. Assessing the Relationship between Civilian Control of the Military and the Consolidation of Democracy
The key to establishing civilian control is the use by democratizers of regime leverage to define narrow boundaries for military authority and to institutionalize supervision of the armed forces. After all, regime leverage over the military is what allows civilians to resist conditions placed by outgoing authoritarian elites on the institutions of a new democracy, and it is what allows governments to compel the armed forces to accept institutions of civilian control. These institutions...
Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 17 figs., 2 tables
Publication Year: 2005
OCLC Number: 69679306
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