The military and modernization in Peru and Brazil : a comparative study.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis looks at the military establishments of Peru and Brazil with two aims in view, first to judge the extent of their 'revolutions' and second, to determine how and why they came to occur. A comparative study of the Peruvian and Brazilian military would illuminate important aspects of both. The latter entered politics in 1964 for the first time in the twentieth century and adopted conservative, suppressive and pro-US policies typical of military governments in Latin America. However, the Peruvian military initiated a wide-re ching reform and modernization programme which earned the Revolutionary Military Government a 'left wing' populist reputation.
Both military governments were moulded first, by their respective military establishments, and second, by the nature and circumstance of their interventions. The Supreme Revolutionary Command took over in 1964 when the military saw that the traditional political and economic order were being undermined. This situation also affected the military itself, which feared disunity and civil war. Having replaced the Goulart administration the Brazilian military then proceeded to restore and strengthen the status quo. This meant a re-affirmation of capitalism, 'responsible' democracy and good relations with the US.
In Peru the military intervened because the Belaunde government had failed to fulfil its mandate to initiate change. Officers dissatisfied with the government and with the US, used the public and national uproar over the IPC Talara Agreement as a pretext for replacing the government with a military junta capable of modernization. The RMG was able to mix together Peruvian nationalism and structural change.
The Peruvian and Brazilian military institutions also influenced their respective governments. The latter had close contacts with the US and business, and feared subversion and criticism which were denounced as Communist-inspired. The Peruvian military had much weaker contacts with the US and business, but was very anxious about domestic and national security. Partly due to its benign traditions, but mostly due to the need to undercut guerrilla support, the Peruvian military also maintained welfare programmes, etc.
Both governments were fully representative of the military establishment. Both were conservative and authoritarian, and neither would sanction spontaneity or public initiative. Control was their common feature. Nor did they reject capitalism, although both sought a greater degree of state control in the economy. Both military governments are significant not as 'revolutionary' leaders but as products of institutional evolution.