The Andean region has been, and continues to be, at the center of a struggle over embracing economic globalization and market democracies or eschewing such models for various nationalist/socialist strategies of development and politics. The regions militaries have not been outside of this struggle, with factions in Venezuela or Ecuador working to frustrate the establishment and/or maintenance of neoliberal regimes, while militaries in Colombia, Peru, and to an extent in Bolivia, playing crucial roles in weakening or eliminating substantive challenges to capitalist globalization. William Avilés explores this variation in military power, identifying how neoliberal economic and political elites and international actors such as the United States have sought to marginalize “radical populists” while seeking the subordination of militaries to the decision-making of neoliberal elites within Andean states.
"Aviles challenges institutionalist explanations of changes in civil-military relations in the Andean region, asserting that U.S. support for neoliberal policy coalitions and the war on drugs has led to reduction of military influence and prerogatives in Colombia, Peru, and, to lesser extent, Bolivia (until 2005) - despite significant internal security threats and insurgencies. In contrast, in Ecuador and Venezuela, repudiation of the neoliberal agenda by social movements and nationalist governments has allowed incorporation of the armed forces into national development agendas that have expanded military influence and prerogatives in the last two decades. Thus governments rejecting "the end of history" with liberal capitalist globalization offer new (and continued) opportunities for the military to participate in social and economic development in ways far beyond the limited role prescribed by traditional liberal democratic theory. Both Aviles' theoretical contributions and the empirical case studies will be valuable grist for the mill among researchers on civil-military relations in Latin America." - Brian Loveman, Author of No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776 (2010)
"In this absorbing, five nation Andean study, William Aviles reveals the unexpected: that governments in the midst of counter-insurgency wars will subordinate their militaries to civilian control while left wing populist governments will expand the powers and reach of their militaries. The difference is attributed to neoliberal policy coalitions that favor limited democracies, compliant armies and suppressed social movements, and whether they have influence inside a country or not. To my knowledge, this is the first book to analyze Latin American civil-military relations from the vantage point of global capitalist actors and their political allies. This is an important, timely and provocative study. Scholars may disagree with Aviles' thesis, but they cannot ignore it." - David Pion-Berlin, Professor of Political Science and Latin American Politics at the University of California, Riverside
"This book succeeds in linking globalization and socioeconomic interest groups to an explanation of diverse patterns of civil-military relations in Latin America. Professor Aviles identifies neoliberal policy coalitions as an important ingredient in explaining greater civilian control over the armed forces. In countries where such neoliberal policy coalitions are not as firmly entrenched, then the level of civilian control over the armed forces is reduced. The provocative conclusions suggest that neoliberal coalitions may have succeeded, in certain countries, in enhancing civilian control over the military, but only at the expense of imposing a kind of elite-managed democracy (low-intensity democracy) whose economic benefits flow primarily to groups at the top of the socioeconomic ladder." - Dr. Ronald W. Cox, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, Florida International University