Guatemala 1963-1970: the limits to democratisation.
The subject of this thesis is the transition from de facto military rule to constitutional civilian government in Guatemala between 1963 and 1970. The focus is upon the limits to democratisation inherent in this process at a time of intense political polarisation and increasing militarisation. The work opens with a consideration of the debates that emerged in the context of the political transitions in Latin America during the 1980s. The second chapter charts the central characteristics of a foundational period in Guatemalan politics between 1944 and 1954 and argues that later political developments can only be fully understood with reference to this earlier period. Chapter Three addresses the military coup of 1963 and the period of military government which followed. The emphasis is on the effort to define the parameters of the Guatemalan political process and the military response to the guerrilla challenge which emerged after 1962. Chapter Four examines in detail the elections of March 1966 and the political campaign which preceded them. Particular consideration is given to the origins and character of the pact signed with the military establishment before the new government was permitted to take office. The following two chapters present a case study of the civilian government between 1966 and 1970. Chapter Five addresses the rhetoric and reality of the government programme with respect to three key policy areas and suggests that the failure to make progress in each was indicative of the true limits to this democratic experiment. The thematic focus of Chapter Six is insurgency and counterinsurgency and the extensive political violence which became the overarching feature of this period. The thesis concludes with a brief examination of the 1970 elections and goes on to argue that the failure of democratisation between 1963 and 1970 derived from the historic absence of a liberal democratic consensus and the predominant role of the military in the political process.
- Theses