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Using One Case In Latin America, Illustrate What The Biggest Obstacle To Democracy Is.

2390 words - 10 pages

In this essay the case I am going to be discussing is going to be the case of Argentina, and how its infamous history of militarism and consequent military rule has proved to be an obstacle to democracy in the region. Within that I will attempt to show exactly what it is about military rule that makes it such an obstacle to democracy ( E.g. “the dirty war”, economic mismanagement, patron client relationships and so fourth). I will also illustrate how its colonial history may have made Argentina more susceptible to military rule than other countries in the region.
During the colonial period, Argentina was colonized by the Spanish one of the reasons being that Buenos Aires which was seen as a “natural port” to the Atlantic, which made it an ideal target for settlers and traders alike. However due to the slave trade during the colonial era a large number of African slaves were brought over to Argentina in order to till and work the land of the Spanish settlers, these slaves were forbidden from interbreeding. However racial mixing did of course take place, if the child was born from a slave father and a non slave mother that child would then be considered to be free . What this eventually resulted in was the creation of a new race known as “criollos” which were Argentine born Spaniards who vastly outnumbered the “Peninsulares” who were born in Spain. The birth of the “Criollos” put the Spanish rule under threat. The Napoleonic occupation of Spain and the eventual imprisonment of the Spanish royal family clearly had major repercussions on Spanish America, the “Peninsulares” had lost any legitimacy that they may have had and soon after the Spanish Viceroy was disposed . As with any colony, when the colonizer leaves it also takes with it all institutions with it, Argentina suffered the same fate as many other countries did in this respect. After the Spanish had left the attempt to establish a united nation proved a difficult task for Argentine nationals; approximately 50 years of bloody civil war ensued shortly after the Spanish had vacated the country. Caudillismo may be one of the causes, it is a Latin American phenomenon and this fact alone arguably carries a lot of weight in the discussion of why democracy has struggled to take hold in this region and other similar ones. A Caudillo is a “political military ” (notice how political and military are used alongside one another) leader strong and charismatic. The Caudillo’s where born out of the Spanish colonial era, where they were used to lead small militias in order to police areas and maintain public order . In 1829, Juan Manuel de Rosas who was of the same ilk as the Caudillos, ruled Buenos Aires repressively and quelled any insubordination with brute force and with the help of his secret police the “Mazorca” who allegedly killed thousands of people who politically opposed him . As you can see this style of rule can be traced back as far as the 1800s so it is not hard to see where the roots of...

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