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By Erik Ching

In December 1931, El Salvador’s civilian president, Arturo Araujo, was once overthrown in an army coup. Such an occasion was once not often designated in Salvadoran heritage, however the 1931 coup proved to be a watershed. Araujo have been the nation’s first democratically elected president, and even supposing not anyone may have foreseen the outcome, the coup resulted in 5 a long time of uninterrupted army rule, the longest run in glossy Latin American background. in addition, six weeks after coming to strength, the recent army regime oversaw the crackdown on a peasant uprising in western El Salvador that's one of many worst episodes of state-sponsored repression in smooth Latin American historical past. Democracy wouldn't go back to El Salvador until eventually the Nineties, and merely then after a brutal twelve-year civil struggle. In Authoritarian El Salvador: Politics and the Origins of the army Regimes, 1880-1940, Erik Ching seeks to give an explanation for the origins of the army regime that got here to strength in 1931. in accordance with his finished survey of the extant documentary checklist in El Salvador’s nationwide archive, Ching argues that El Salvador was once typified by means of a longstanding culture of authoritarianism relationship again to the early- to mid-nineteenth century. the fundamental buildings of that process have been according to patron-client relationships that wove neighborhood, local, and nationwide political actors into advanced webs of rival patronage networks. Decidedly nondemocratic in perform, the procedure however exhibited hugely paradoxical qualities: it remained steadfastly dependable to elections because the mechanism wherein political aspirants obtained workplace, and it hired a political discourse encumbered with appeals to liberty and unfastened suffrage. That mixing of nondemocratic authoritarianism with populist reformism and rhetoric set the precedent for army rule for the following fifty years.

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Authoritarian El Salvador: Politics and the Origins of the Military Regimes, 1880-1944 (From the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies) by Erik Ching


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