Monday, December 10, 2012

Models of Political Change in Latin America

Sigmund, Paul E., Editor, Models of Political Change in Latin America, New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970.

Reviewed in The Review of Politics / Volume 33 / Issue 04 / October 1971, pp 587-589.
Reviewed in Political Research Quarterly.

From the author’s Introduction:
The present volume focuses on the problem of political change in Latin America. In recent years, economic development, the growth of communications, and rising popular expectations have stimulated demands for expanded opportunity, political participation and social justice. These demands have produced a general climate of political instability. In some cases, the result has been revolutionary upheavals that have fundamentally altered the existing social and economic systems. In other cases, democratic governments have attempted to respond to the demands for change within the framework of constitutional government, majority rule, and minority rights. In still others, the military have intervened, sometimes to impede change but more often to control its direction or even accelerate its pace.

In this collection, political change is therefore considered under three principal headings: revolution, military rule, and constitutional democracy. The usual dichotomy of “reform or revolution” has been amended to include government by the military as a third alternative. It is the editor’s opinion that political intervention by the military must be viewed as a permanent feature of the Latin American political scene rather than as a temporary phenomenon that will diminish in importance as Latin America attains higher levels of political development. As the selections below indicate, pressures for military intervention and the desire of military men to influence or control the course of national politics have tended to increase in periods of social and economic change.

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