“Panamanian Militarism is both the fruit of the author’s intellectual labors and a testament to his passionate and personal concern for this issue.”
“This book…is a succinct and lucid summary of the subject which makes its case persuasively.”
John Major, Journal of Latin American Studies
Carlos Guevara Mann argues that Panamanian militarism, a consequence of the breakdown of legitimacy that occurred in the early nineteenth century, is more a manifestation of a deeply-rooted political tradition than an isolated phenomenon of the late twentieth century. He examines the variable US policy approach to domestic stability with the overall context of US hegemony in the isthmus and its shaping of Panamanian militarism.
Focusing on the causes that generated nineteenth-century predatory militarism, including political illegitimacy and US support, Guevara Mann analyzes the so-called professionalization of the armed forces — institutionalized militarism — and the polices developed by the 1968-89 military regime.
The author cautions that although Panamanian Defense Forces were abolished after the US invasion of December 1989, and although the state’s security apparatus has been placed under civilian direction, Panama’s stability remains threatened. Lack of legitimacy — the characteristic which informs military involvement in politics — still persists, and militarism could well reappear if the Panamanian polity fails to achieve legitimacy.
Carlos Guevara Mann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada Reno. He holds a Master’s degree from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame. A native of Panama, he served as an Assistant to his country’s Foreign Minister before initiating his academic career. His book on the political behavior of the members of Panama’s congress is under contract to Notre Dame Press. Dr. Guevara Mann is a regular columnist for the Panamanian press and a consultant for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest relief agency.
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