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Militarization of Venezuelan politics under Hugo Chávez's government 1999-2003

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Felix Martin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

Date of Defense



Since President Hugo Chávez Frias came to power in 1999, the Venezuelan political space has become militarized. The study focused on examining how and why the military entered into the traditional civilian space in Venezuela and militarized the political system. The purpose of this thesis was to analyze the participation of the Venezuelan military in state affairs, the reasons why this institution became such an active political actor, and how this process evolved over the last five years.

Findings revealed that the Venezuelan military became involved in national politics through a series of prerogatives granted by the government of Hugo Chávez. These military prerogatives were granted in key state areas such as the cabinet, legislature and police/intelligence. Also, by using the Rational Choice Model it could be examined of why President Chávez, as the purposive actor, made the choice of militarizing Venezuelan politics. This was a value-maximizing alternative among a set of other alternatives to accomplish Chávez's major political goals.



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