By Erik Ching
In December 1931, El Salvador’s civilian president, Arturo Araujo, was once overthrown in an army coup. Such an occasion used to be hardly ever precise in Salvadoran historical past, however the 1931 coup proved to be a watershed. Araujo have been the nation’s first democratically elected president, and even if not anyone may have foreseen the outcome, the coup ended in 5 many years of uninterrupted army rule, the longest run in sleek Latin American heritage. moreover, six weeks after coming to energy, the hot army regime oversaw the crackdown on a peasant uprising in western El Salvador that's one of many worst episodes of state-sponsored repression in smooth Latin American historical past. Democracy wouldn't go back to El Salvador until eventually the Nineties, and merely then after a brutal twelve-year civil battle. In Authoritarian El Salvador: Politics and the Origins of the army Regimes, 1880-1940, Erik Ching seeks to give an explanation for the origins of the army regime that got here to strength in 1931. in response to his finished survey of the extant documentary list in El Salvador’s nationwide archive, Ching argues that El Salvador used to be typified via a longstanding culture of authoritarianism relationship again to the early- to mid-nineteenth century. the fundamental buildings of that process have been in response to patron-client relationships that wove neighborhood, nearby, and nationwide political actors into advanced webs of rival patronage networks. Decidedly nondemocratic in perform, the method however exhibited hugely paradoxical characteristics: it remained steadfastly unswerving to elections because the mechanism wherein political aspirants received workplace, and it hired a political discourse weighted down with appeals to liberty and loose suffrage. That mixing of nondemocratic authoritarianism with populist reformism and rhetoric set the precedent for army rule for the following fifty years.