Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Douglas Kincaid

Third Advisor's Name

Dario Moreno


Civil-military relations, Guatemala, History, 20th century

Date of Defense



In 1986 Guatemala experienced a transition from authoritarian rule. Many issues affected the democratization process, but I argue that an essential aspect was civil- military relations. Thus, the principal question answered in this thesis is: How have civil-military relations determined the extent and nature of transition towards democracy in Guatemala from 1986-1990?

Adopting Alfred Stepan’s model to examine civil-military relations, the prerogatives and contestation of the Guatemalan military were examined. Prerogatives exist when the military assumes the right to control an issue, while contestation involves open articulated conflict with civilian government. High military prerogatives and low contestation indicate a situation of unequal civilian accommodation, where civilians do not effectively control the military.

Civil-military relations in Guatemala from 1986-1990 reflect a pattern of unequal civilian accommodation. This illustrates the lack of civilian control over the military and continued military dominance of the political system in Guatemala.




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