Armies and Politics in Latin America

By Abraham F. Lowenthal; J. Samuel Fitch | Go to book overview

The Civic Soldier in Cuba

Jorge Domínguez

Two major patterns of civilian control over the military can be identified. Samuel P. Huntington calls one "subjective" civilian control; 1 it ensures control over the military by increasing the authority of a governmental institution such as a parliament, of a social class such as the bourgeoisie, or of a political party such as the Communist party, over military institutions. The other, which Huntington calls "objective" civilian control, emphasizes a professional army, separate from politics, in command of military expertise and responsibility, and corporately autonomous.

Civilian control is far from being worldwide. Among economically underdeveloped countries, particularly new states with relatively weak political institutions, military control over civilian institutions is common. This control assumes two different forms. 2 One, the military acting as arbitrator, has no independent political organization or ideology; it is often content merely to supervise the leading civilian officals. When the army does take over directly, it oftens does so for a stated and limited period, handing the government back as soon as "acceptable" civilians are found to lead it. This variety of controlling military finds nothing wrong with the social and economic status quo and prefers a civilian government. The

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Portions of this chapter previously appeared in Jorge Dominguez, Cuba: Order and Revolution ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), and Cuba: Internal and International Affairs ( Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1982). Pp. 53-59 of the latter work reprinted by permission of the copyright holder, Sage Publications, Inc.

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