The Peruvian Military's Role in Sustaining Democracy
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Peru has experienced considerable political turmoil since attaining statehood in 1821. The military has routinely been at the center of this turmoil, with coups detat having been a recurring theme in the countrys evolution. Perus most recent attempt at democracy-which commenced in 1980 after 12 years of authoritarian military rule-has been particularly challenging because it coincided with the commencement of an insurgent movement of unprecedented violence and vigor. Further exacerbating matters, Perus democratically elected leaders have had to tread lightly on military prerogatives in order to insure against their overthrow. President Alberto Fujimoris strong-hand tactics and misuse of the military as his instrument of domestic political power represent the latest obstacle to Perus democratization. Trends throughout Latin America since the 1980s reflect a precipitous decline in the domestic power of armed forces. Because this does not necessarily hold true for Peru, the countrys democracy is in jeopardy. This research project assesses the Peruvian militarys contribution to the countrys post-1980 democratization. The methodology employed involves an examination of the militarys track record in those areas the author considers critical to Perus democratic evolution. These include the militarys involvement in politics, subordination under civilian control, corruption, respect for human rights, effectiveness in combating insurgency and counternarcotics, and preservation of the states territorial integrity. Even though the armed forces have demonstrated noteworthy improvement in many of these areas, the future of Perus democratization remains uncertain.
- Government and Political Science