Ecuador, Peru: study indicates army leaders often make operation decisions by how much local client willing to pay

Posted on November 27, 2012 • Filed under: Ecuador, Peru, Police/Military Activity

Public Security Forces with Private Funding: Local Army Entrepreneurship in Peru and Ecuador


In Latin America’s young democracies, actors in the private sector may influence military security work through resource transfers, with implications for state accountability and democracy in the region. This analysis finds that in Ecuador and Peru local army commanders—who frequently decide when and where army operations are conducted—make decisions not according to technical evaluations of security requirements but rather on the basis of how much local clients pay. The article’s local political economy perspective enables us to identify client influence, even in cases in which client and national security interests overlap. The study also helps bridge two literatures: research on Latin American civil-military relations, which has devoted a great amount of attention to military autonomy vis-à-vis the government without systematically analyzing third-party influence on armed forces, and scholarship on security privatization, which has examined such third-party financing but without underscoring the fact that clients can engage with the military directly, bypassing the national government. Read Abstract

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