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Military disengagement and democratic consolidation in post -military regimes: The case of El Salvador

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • History
  • Latin American|Political Science
  • General
  • Political Science


This research addresses the question of military disengagement from politics in states emerging from prolonged cycles of military intervention in politics. The case of El Salvador is particularly interesting given the decades of repeated intervention by the Salvadoran military. These cycles of military intervention indicate that intervention in politics is seen by the military as part of their job. Long term military disengagement therefore comes from a change in the military's self identity and orientation toward intervention in politics because the military will always have the ability to intervene due to their preponderance of force. The case study approach is used in order to discern the historic difficulties facing permanent removal of the Salvadoran military from politics and the prospects for the future. As the preponderant holder of force is society, the military will disengage from politics when external pressures elicit a voluntary withdrawal based upon the military's perception of those external pressures and the possibility of a face-saving return to the barracks with a maximum preservation of power and prestige. ^

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