Armies and Politics in Latin America

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

meet many internationalist commitments, even the largest ones in Angola and in Ethiopia. Cuban civilians in Angola have also changed roles, when attacked, assuming military reserve posts, as might be expected from the classic civic soldier.

In the only case when Cubans fought directly against the United States armed forces--in Grenada in October 1983--Cuban reservists acquitted themselves better than Cuba's regular army officers. Cuban construction workers in Grenada were, typically, reservists. They fought with courage and determination against U.S. forces. Indeed, they fought so well that U.S. officers at first thought there were many more Cubans on the island than was the case. In contrast, the Cuban commanding officer, Pedro Tortolo, committed fundamental mistakes in organizing the resistance: he was asleep when the invasion began; he did not think the invasion would occupy the whole island; consequently, he did not distribute weapons to all the reservists, nor enough munitions to those who received weapons. Colonel Tortolo gave this testimony in public upon his immediate return to Cuba when he was still being treated as a hero; he was not pressured into making these comments--though they led to the Cuban government's decision to take away his military rank in punishment.

And yet, there have been important changes which in part modify and in part nullify the original civic soldier model. The most important modification is that the civic soldier model had an element of reciprocity, where the Revolutionary Armed Forces gave as much as they took from civil society. Much of what remains of the civic soldier model, however, is the mechanism for the armed forces to penetrate civil society to obtain the resources needed for war. This is much closer to the model of a traditional military establishment, although the Cuban Armed Forces do it in ways consistent with the traditions and practices described in this chapter.


Notes
1.
Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957), pp. 80-85.
2.
The terms are taken from Amos Perlmutter, "The Praetorian State and the Praetorian Army: Toward a Taxonomy of Civil-Military Relations in Developing Politics," in Political Development and Social Change, ed. J. L. Finkle and R. W. Gable ( New York: Wiley, 1971), pp. 314-324.
3.
See, for instance, Gino Germani and Kalman Silvert, "Politics, Social Structure and Military Intervention in Latin America," European Journal of Sociology 2 ( 1961): 62-81; Morris Janowitz, The Military in the Political Development of New Nations ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964): Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), chap. 4.
4.
The role theory described here is based on that of Robert L. Kahn, Donald M. Wolfe , Robert R Quinn, and J. Diedrick Snoek, Organizational Stress: Studies in Role Conflict and Ambiguity ( New York: Wiley, 1964), pp. 11-35.

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