Soldiers, Guerrillas, and Politics in Colombia
Analysis of the impact of prolonged guerrilla warfare on the Colombian military. In their commitment to military professionalism — requiring nonpartisanship — military leaders have tried to remove the military from civil conflict, but much of the responsibility for controlling domestic strife has devolved on that institution. Endemic political-party violence subsided with the 1957 creation of the National Front, an arrangement whereby Liberals and Conservatives share the rule. The military has supported the National Front against the subsequent opposition from leftist insurgents. The danger of that politicization has become apparent with the rise of a populist-nationalist movement, ANAPO. ANAPO almost won the 1970 presidential election, jeopardizing the military's vested interest. The potential for a military coup d'etat increases as the fortunes of ANAPO or political instability rise. Colombia's experience suggests that where national political conflict is militarized, the professionalism of the armed forces helps promote military involvement in partisan politics.