Chavismo and civil-military relations in Venezuela
My research examines the relationship between civilians and the military that emerged in Venezuela after the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 in historical context. These new interactions were marked by a) an attempt to deliberately blur the distinction between civilian and military political roles; b) strategies to curb military power while reinforcing ideological alignment between the military and the new regime; and c) military role expansion in society, with emphasis on national sovereignty and economic development.
I use primarily case study methodologies, particularly within-case study, and I also draw comparisons with experiences that inspired chavismo, e.g., revolutionary Cuba and 1960s-70s Peru. I hope my research will achieve three goals: 1) highlight the strategies civilians have used in Venezuela to successfully control the military (and conversely, suggest why at other times they have met resistance from the military); 2) suggest a framework to analyse civil-military relations under chavismo; and 3) offer elements for our broader understanding of civil-military relations and the factors that shape them.