Canning Insights

Politics and the Military in Latin America

  • Postponed - date TBA
  • Online

The military has always played a prominent role in Latin American politics. Today, that influence appears to be increasing. In this event, Canning House assesses this complicated relationship, and considers how it could affect the region going forward.

In keeping with its independent think-tank status, Canning House believes that we must not shy away from controversial and difficult issues – and that it is incumbent upon us to look at all sides of the critical issues that affect Latin America.

However, we do wish to give serious consideration to various representations we have received in relation to the delicate topic of Politics and the Military; and we will therefore reschedule this event in the near future, once we have given appropriate consideration to the views expressed.

Please join us then.

Cristina Cortes

CEO, Canning House

Politics and the Military in Latin America

The military has always played a prominent role in Latin American politics. From the establishment of many of today’s nation-states, through decades of military dictatorship, and to a contemporary relationship of collaboration with the region’s civilian governments, the armed forces have been virtually ever-present in Latin America’s current affairs.

While public trust in democracy has fallen sharply throughout the region over the last ten years, due to ongoing corruption scandals and failings to provide basic services, trust in the armed forces has remained relatively stable. Employed in a wide variety of settings – be it reinforcing the image of populist leaders, engaging in counter-insurgency operations, or teaching children how to read and write – the relationship between politics and the military in Latin America remains complex.

The armed forces’ increasing influence has been brought into even sharper relief due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With many branches of government infrastructure overwhelmed, military forces have been drafted in to carry out all manner of emergency services. With this in mind, this event will discuss the following issues:

  • Is the renewed prominence of the military in Latin America a threat to democratic institutions?
  • Is the reliance on the military in fact indicative of weak civilian governments? What can be done to change this?
  • Is there a positive role for the military to play in Latin America?
  • With heavily militarized police forces a common presence in all Latin American nations, is a complete overhaul of security apparatus throughout the region the only way to meet citizens’ needs?


Please contact us with any questions about this event.


This event has been postponed.

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