The Coup: Tactics in the Seizure of Power

The Coup: Tactics in the Seizure of Power

The Coup: Tactics in the Seizure of Power

The Coup: Tactics in the Seizure of Power

Synopsis

This book provides a paradigm of the coup and provides a historical basis for that paradigm that is unsurpassed in its objectivity and research. The author of this book has spent over a decade living and working with military and political figures throughout Latin America. His book is both an educational and an exciting peek into the dark world of military subversion by an observer who has seen it first hand.

Excerpt

The coup d'état is a highly nebulous thing to study. It has its genesis in darkness and only comes to light in the very latest stages of the process, or even after the event. Only the most successful coup efforts ever reach the attention of the press, even if they ultimately fail to overthrow the target government, and the participants, both for and against, are often reluctant to speak of their experiences. Virtually nothing of the coup process is documented in official publications, and much that is is falsified to a greater or a lesser degree. Even those individuals willing to talk, or who later write about their participation in or opposition to a coup in their memoirs, are rarely noted for their objectivity. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the various forms of military interventions which have racked the Third World, and even some "developed" countries, during this century and the last are a mysterious phenomenon, not unlike major economic and social upheavals. We can see them when they happen, and there is no shortage of theories as to why, but we know very little about where they come from or how they are effected.

I have chosen to focus on Latin America primarily, although not exclusively, in this study, partly because of my own experience in that part of the world, and also because the Latin American military has brought the coup d'état to the state of an art form which is only poorly copied in other societies. While I will also discuss coups in various European countries as well and certainly make mention of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern coups, most of my discussion will be on Latin America, and the conclusions drawn herein will be meant to apply to Latin America first, and to other areas only by coincidence.

My first experience of a coup d'état was during my first overseas tour as a foreign service officer in Bolivia, in November 1979 (about which more will be said later). Rumors of a possible coup had been flying around for . . .

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